By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
THE nomination of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu as the Ondo State candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC was, last night, headed towards an impasse after the National Working Committee, NWC, failed to take a decision on the primaries that produced him.
At the centre of the controversy was the failure of the NWC to adopt or reject the report of the Mrs. Hellen Bendega Appeals Committee which had recommended the cancellation of the primaries on the allegation of irregularities.
The report was, however, challenged by some other members of the committee who opposed the cancellation. A statement expected to have conveyed the decision of the NWC was not issued as earlier promised yesterday. Odigie-Oyegun at the end of the NWC meeting told waiting reporters that a decision would be taken soonest on the primary.
Akeredolu had emerged on top at the governorship primary beating Dr. Segun Abrahams to second place with Chief Olusola Oke and Senator Ajayi Boroffice taking third and fourth places respectively.
The declaration of Akeredolu as the winner was not long after contested by some of the aspirants who alleged among others that a fake delegates’ list was used for the primary.
The Mrs. Bendega committee had also recommended that a re-run primary should be held immediately to beat the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC).
Among those who petitioned were Senator Boroffice and the state’s women leader, Mrs. Toyin Ajinde, who was supposed to be a statutory delegate who claimed that she was, however, edged out.
Three of the aspirants, Abraham, Oke, and Senator Boroffice also joined the state vice chairman, Ondo Central, the state vice-chairman, Ondo East, Mr. Adegboyega Adedipe in filing petitions against the outcome of the primary.
In demanding the cancellation of the primaries, Abraham had alleged that at least 157 fake delegates had been inputted into the delegates’ list.
Boroffice on his part, alleged that irregularities in the accreditation process of the delegates made the primary a mockery.
Akeredolu, according to sources, however, countered the submission of the petitioners saying that he had no lever to influence the exercise as he said that the primary was conducted fairly.
In calling for the cancellation of the primaries, the Mrs. Bendega Committee said the party should show its zero tolerance for corruption by refusing to accept a less than perfect exercise. “In view of the change mantra of this administration, it is pertinent that the party blazes the trail by refusing to condone a less than perfect exercise. We, therefore, formally submit our recommendations for the National Working Committee (NWC) to use its discretionary powers in line with the APC constitution and the Electoral Act to arrive at a final decision,” the committee said.
The committee also cited the fact that some persons confessed on television to have participated in the rigging of the primaries.
“Equally disturbing is the public perception of the primary. There have been so many negative reports on this exercise all over the print, electronic and social media…A party founded on a platform of due process and which prides itself with zero tolerance for corruption and fraud, cannot be seen to condone illegality.”