By Dayo Johnson
ALL is still not well within the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State even after its victory in the November 26 governorship election. The hijacking of the soul of the party in the state by the Abuja cabals has reared it’s head again in the choice of who gets what in the incoming government of the governor elect, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN as well as federal appointments.
Meanwhile, the governor elect jetted out of the country last weekend to perfect the list of appointees, especially those portfolios that he would unveil at his inauguration. Vanguard gathered that Akeredolu’s GRA residence in the ancient town of Owo had since his election, been a beehive of activities including various groups and personalities paying courtesy calls to lobby for appointments.
Meanwhile, leading the cabals in the appointment issue is the governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun who calls the shots from his state. Already some traditional leaders of the state have kicked against the undue influence of the cabal on Akeredolu even after governorship election in which they played a major role to ensure his victory.
Party leaders are insisting that the cabals should hands off in the appointments in both the state and the federal levels to avoid a crisis in the party.
The race for positions such as Chief of staff to the governor, Secretary to State Government SSG, Commissioner for Works, Finance, Land and Housing, Agriculture, Natural Resources and juicy boards such as Ondo state oil Producing Development Commission OSOPADEC, water corporation, Wealth Creation Agency among others have commenced.
A governor from the North is pushing forward a nominee for the position of the SSG. No fewer than six persons are jostling for the position.
Be that as it may,there are grumblings by some notable leaders of the party who complained of marginalization in the constitution of the transition committees. A leader, who spoke in confidence said “a situation where outsiders dictate who gets what in the incoming government in this state is unacceptable. He insisted that “importing” of people who were not part of the struggle within the state would be resisted.
At the state level, one of the cabals is reportedly fronting for his wife to be the Secretary to the state government while another is pushing someone forward for the position of the Finance commissioner and other juicy portfolios.
Reports have it that the cabals are bent on having their ways in appointing their cronies to choice positions. The appointment of the representative of the state in the board of the NDDC since the senate dropped Tokunbo Ajasin who was reportedly pushed forward by one of the cabal despite not being from any of the oil producing communities in the state, is yet to be replaced because of various interests.
Of recent, after the last governorship election, reports had it that the Presidency in a bid to placate the aggrieved national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu nominated the name of one of those in his camp as a career ambassador.
Hon Sola Iji who was penciled down to deputise the preferred candidate of Asiwaju in the last governorship election in the state Olusegun Abraham was nominated and his name was forwarded to the senate.
But the cabals in their desperate bid to continue to hold sway manoeuvred and Iji’s name was missing in the new list sent to the red chamber by President Muhammad Buhari. This is coming even after Iji had celebrated the appointment and party members had started calling him by the name “Ambassador”.
Tongues wagged when it was discovered that Iji name had been replaced with that of Daudu Igbekele who defected to the party a few months to the governorship election in the state.
Daudu was a former Special Adviser on Infrastructure and Maintenance before he was appointed as the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development under the out-going Governor, Olusegun Mimiko.
Groups and members of the state executives have kicked against and rejected the replacement of Daudu with that of a staunch member of the party Iji. Those against the nomination of Daudu by Governor Ibikunle Amosun said aside the fact that Daudu is an opportunist who wanted to reap where he did not sow, he allegedly worked against the governor elect, Akeredolu during the last election.
He supported and was the Director General of the governorship campaign of Senator Ayo Akinyelure eyeing the seat during the last election in the state.
Speaking on the nomination of Daudu, a member of the state executive Saka Yusuf confirmed the anti – party activities of the nominee during the governorship election in the state. “I am a member of the state excos of this party, Jacobs Daudu joined our great party one week to the presidential election, after serving six years in governor Olusegun Mimiko administration.
Canvassing for votes
“After the party’s primary, the man left for the AD, when President Buhari came here to canvass for vote for our governor – elect, Igbekele Daudu was with Olusola Oke canvassing for votes for him,”he said.
Saka appealed to the President and to the national Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other national leaders of the party not to encourage indiscipline in the party and stop the nomination of Daudu. We realized that there must be discipline in our party and that Daub must be disciplined for anti-party activities and not that he should be compensated.
“In APC we want to demonstrate to the whole world that we have discipline and that is why we will not allow this nomination to stand,” he said.
Also during the week a group within the party in the state rejected the nomination of Daub as the non career ambassador-nominee representing the state. The group under the aegis of the Movement Against Imposition alleged that Daub was involved in anti-party activities in the last election.
Coordinator of the group, Mr. Austin Pele said President Mohammed Hari, Jurassic Bola Bunting along with other leaders of the party must intervene in the matter.
“A man that is known across the state to be a member of Alliance for Democracy can never be allowed to take a position that is meant for a member of the APC.
Allegations of anti- Party activities
“It is an act that must be resisted by all members of the APC in the state.”
The group said “A name came up as an ambassadorial-designate from Ondo State, Jacobs Daudu, we later got to know that he is the same Igbekele Daudu, as we speak , Mr. Igbekele Daudu is not a member of the APC in the state”
Meanwhile following the rejection of his name by the group, the nominee has started lobbying leaders in the party so as not to be dropped.
He held a series of meetings with notable leaders to placate them including the Director General of the Akeredolu campaign Committee and now a member of the transition committee, Hon Victor Olabimtan. Reacting, Daudu denied the allegations of anti- Party activities levelled against him. He insisted that he never worked for any party other than the APC in the last governorship election.
According to him,“ I never worked for Olusola Oke in the election, throughout the election, I worked for Akeredolu, I know there are some people in the party who want to destroy me and I know God is my advocate.”
One of those leaders in support of the nominee said that the matter was a family matter that would soon be resolved.
Speaking in confidence he added that talks are on to resolve and put the records straight as the allegation of anti-party activities was “ formulated to give a dog a bad name so as to hang it”.
He pointed out that the nominee is a party man that would never abandon the ship as being speculated by his detractors.
Vanguard gathered that consultations are still on with stakeholders on the contentious issue tending to further create a chasm within the party. As the governor elect resumes on February 24, he would have to devote more time uniting the party.
However, Akeredolu has consistently voiced it out that he is a man of his own and will take decisions that will be in the best interest of the state. How he will do this with the cabals breathing down his neck on issues of appointment is still unknown but time is definitely the final arbiter..