The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its governorship candidate in Ondo State is yet to abate.
Yesterday, factions loyal to the winner of the September 3, 2016 party primaries, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and the runner-up, Dr. Olusegun Abraham clashed in Akure.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, has said that the letter from the party’s National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, accusing him of being a mole in the party and manipulating the results in favour of Akeredolu was a little too harsh.
Also, protesters under the aegis of APC Youths Democratic Frontiers (APCYDF) yesterday stormed APC headquarters in Abuja, berating Tinubu over his letter to Odigie-Oyegun and accused him of trying to impose his will on the party.
In a related development, the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, while receiving the new Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 11, Mr. Dan Bature yesterday, urged the police to provide unbiased and fair policing during the polls slated for November 26.
Abraham’s supporters across the 18 councils in the state had mobilised for a protest rally in Akure to reject the candidature of Akeredolu as the party’s governorship candidate.
They marched through the metropolis with placards and inscriptions: “With Abraham we stand,” “Restore Abraham’s mandate,” “Abraham is APC’s candidate” and “Abraham is the authentic winner of September 3 primary.”
The leader of the protest, Mr. Enas Mohammed, who addressed the large crowd, gave reasons for the rejection of Akeredolu as the candidate of the party, clamouring for the cancellation of the primary or restoration of Abraham’s mandate.
The rally however, took a dramatic turn as some party members allegedly loyal to Akeredolu stormed the secretariat with dangerous weapons and clashed with Abraham’s supporters.
However, the fracas was checked by the timely intervention of the police and men of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who helped in disarming the warring groups.
Odigie-Oyegun, while fielding questions from State House correspondents shortly after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said: “There is no crisis with Asiwaju. We have differences of opinion, differences of perception and I think that is normal.
Yes, I agree that the nature of the statement was a bit harsh.
“The methods of getting rid of a national chairman if that is what I will call it, are spelt out in the constitution, they don’t take place on the pages of newspapers,” he said.
Responding to questions on why the members of the National Executive Council were yet to meet, the APC chief said: “It is proper for them to meet and they will indeed meet at the appropriate time.”
Also on whether he was willing to make a U-turn on the Ondo primaries since it was causing crisis in the party, Odigie-Oyegun retorted: “It is only INEC that can make a U-turn on it.”
Tinubu had faulted Odigie-Oyegun’s position on the Ondo primaries and called for his resignation.
On allegations that he was the sponsor of some youths who protested at the party’s headquarters against the alleged highhandedness of Tinubu, the APC’s chairman said, “God forbid, anybody who knows me knows that it is not my style. I’m equally shocked and I’m going to look into it and find out why and who is behind it.”
The national coordinator of the protesting youths, Mr. Salahudeen A. Lukman told reporters that Tinubu needed to be reminded that he could not play God by trying to determine the fate of the leadership of the party.
Lukman urged Tinubu to limit his political empire to the South-west geo-political zone since Nigeria is bigger than “a region or Lagos State.”
The youth group called on Tinubu “to either leave the party or curtail his greed.”
According to Mimiko, his administration has invested heavily in the security of lives and property in the last seven and a half years, adding that the infrastructural development of his government was as a result of the peace being enjoyed by the people.