By Dayo Johnson – Akure
FEAR gripped governorship aspirants in the All Progressive Congress in Ondo state as the national leadership of the party unveiled the Primary Election Committee headed by the Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
Aside from this, the aspirants are at a loss as the National Secretariat of the party was yet to officially announce the mode of the primary to be adopted, 72 hours to the election.
The National Secretariat of the party through its deputy national publicity secretary, Yekini Nabena on Thursday had instead announced the committee members to conduct the next week Monday governorship primary election.
Vanguard gathered that aspirants of the party who belong to the Unity Group of the party have expressed deep concern over the choice of Yahaya Bello as the chairman of the election committee.
The eleven aspirants of the party had for the last one week expressed their displeasure over the indirect mode of primary and have even petitioned the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-ordinary National Convention Planning Committee kicking against the adoption of indirect primary for the next Monday election
They have also organised a protest in the state capital insisting that they will boycott the primary if indirect mode of primary was adopted.
Vanguard findings indicated that immediately the committee members were announced, the political camp of the other aspirants outside Akeredolu were thrown into confusion as a close ally of the governor was named its chairman.
Speaking with newsmen in confidence, two of the aspirants said the election had been rigged for Akeredolu even before the teal contest on Monday.
One of them said that ” the choice of Bello as head of the panel was not good for those who are opposed to the return of Governor Akeredolu.
According to him, “the development is a major set back for him and others.
He, however, said the “the leadership of the Unity Forum would meet before Sunday to harmonise their interests.
“This is a clear answer to the question of manipulation that has been perpetrated by the caretaker committee at the national level. We all know what they have planned but it is most unfortunate.
“Everyone knows how close both Akeredolu and Yahaya Bello are. Akeredolu was his lawyer during the period of the Governor’s travail and we all know what Yahaya Bello and his team came to do here in 2016.
“So it is very clear where they are heading but it is frustrating that they will take us this path after all assurances. Painfully, it does appear the national Caretaker Committee is still doing the bidding of the former chairman.
“We have credible evidence that this Committee had been put in place since the June by the former chairman and this committee didn’t change it at all. It then means that even the issue of the mode will go same way because Oshiomhole had already submitted that before he left.
“We cannot run away from this reality because it is already too late. The leadership of the Unity Forum is likely to meet before Sunday to ensure we prune down our numbers to a manageable level where one will be strong enough to face the battle,” he said.
Contacted, Rotimi Ogunleye, the media aide to one of the aspirants, Chief Olusola Oke said they have not seen the list of the election committee and would not want to comment on what was read on the social media.
*** Akeredolu woo delegates
Meanwhile, Governor Akeredolu yesterday met with delegates in the central senatorial district of the state.
Akeredolu was accompanied by the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Donald Tayo Alasoadura , the immediate past President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Dr. Dayo Faduyile and other leaders of the party in the state to the six local government areas in the central senatorial district.
He sought the support and votes of the delegates in the primary election and assured them of more dividends of democracy and of good governance.