Crisis shaking the All Progressive Congress Unity Forum in Ondo State on Tuesday deepened with Chief Olusola Oke emerging as the group’s consensus candidate to compete with the incumbent governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
Governor Akeredolu has announced his intention to seek a second term in office and recently said that he would not enter into and reconcile talks with leaders of the Ondo APC’s Unity Forum or any other grieved parties.
Alhaji Ali Olanusi’s Unity Forum leader vowed to unseat Governor Akeredolu but leaders of the Forum screamed foul play when Alhaji Olanusi announced Chief Oke as a candidate for consensus.
In a press release, Alhaji Olanusi said that Oke was selected in a report by the Gubernatorial Candidate Selection Committee.
He told the Unity Forum, “Chief Olusola Oke, SAN has been selected as the Forum’s nominee. All Unity Forum leaders and members are hereby enjoined to begin mobilization across the state for the forum’s candidate.
Those who however kicked against Oke ‘s emergence were the forum ‘s president, Dapo Adelegan, Professor Sola Ehindero, Deputy Senate Leader, Robert Ajayi Borofice, individually opposing Oke ‘s alleged adoption.
Senator Borofice, the patron of the Unity Forum, has opposed Chief Oke ‘s emergence and has advised all aspirants to prepare for the primaries.
According to Borofice media aide’s comment, Kayode Fakuyi, “The media report indicates that Unity Forum has adopted a consensus candidate to represent the Forum in the primary election of Ondo APC governorship is misleading. The truth is there’s no consensus nominee for the Unity Platform. That reality is based on two basic reasons.
“Firstly, the Unity Forum political ideologies could not agree on crucial processes that could have led to the acceptance of a candidate for consensus. For example, although a few members agreed to zon, some members disagreed. Aspirants recently participated in a zoning process, and a majority decided that the consensus candidate should be created by the Ondo North senatorial district.
“Secondly, when the concept of candidacy for consensus was tabled, the assumption was that all seven members of the Gubernatorial Candidate Selection Committee had to decide unanimously on a candidate for consensus. That requirement had not been fulfilled.
“Therefore, it is the consensus opinion of the majority of leaders and members of the Unity Forum in Ondo North Senate District and other parts of Ondo State that a consensus nominee has yet to be proposed for the Unity Forum.”
On his part Professor Ehindero identified Oke’s declaration as fake news.
His words, “The attention of the duly elected secretary of the Unity Forum Screening Committee set up to choose a consensus candidate for the APC in the forthcoming governorship elections was drawn to a fake report from an unauthorized person.
“The report which was fraudulently released by Ali Olanusi therefore does not emanate from the office of the certified secretary nor does it represent the true deliberations and conclusions of the members of the screening committee.
“Instead, the fake report is motivated, funded and programmed by established and disguised enemies of both the Unity Forum and the Ondo State APC and is designed to tactically divert our collective efforts’ attention and focus.”
Adelegan disapproved of Oke’s endorsement saying the procedure was inappropriate.
“Prince Dapo Adelegan was not a party to any assembly or decision process to declare a candidate for consensus. To the best of our understanding, other aspirants are still discussing the possibility of a consensus candidate among themselves.
“Our hope is that by July 2020, an APC nominee will emerge from a formal primary and go on to emerge as Governor of Ondo State by God’s grace in October 2020,” the media bureau said in an unsigned statement.
The Unity Mandate Party, however, accused Senator Borofice of playing divide and rule politics in order to frustrate Unity Forum successes.
The group’s leader, Comrade Babatope Abisola, said they knew Senator Borofice had been trying to sabotage the process of choosing the consensus nominee before now.
“All along, Senator Borofice worked underground to trigger chaos in order for him to emerge as a neutral candidate to run, according to the Comrade Abisola. With the new deputy governor we are informed of his attempts to discredit us for them to run as candidates.
“They met Mamman Daura in Abuja and through misguided persons in the Unity Forum, they have created problems for us ever since. We stand by Chief Olusola Oke’s mandate.