News

May 19, 2024

ONDO 2024: Aiyedatiwa, Jimoh Ibrahim and peace moves

Jimoh Ibrahim

The dust is yet to settle on the April 20 governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State.

15 aspirants participated in the governorship primary of the party but they kicked against the conduct of the election citing alleged flawed irregularities.

Already, efforts to reconcile aggrieved aspirants are in top gear by the leadership of the party.

Already, seven governorship aspirants of the APC have endorsed the candidacy of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa and the reconciliation efforts of the leadership of the party.

The aspirants include Mr Mayowa Akinfolarin, Prof Dayo Faduyile, Jimi Odimayo and Engineer Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo.

Others are Prince Diran Iyantan, Soji Ehinlanwo and Morayo Lebi.

The aspirants, in a statement entitled ‘Now is the time for genuine reconciliation in our party’, said: “We the listed chieftains of the APC, who were aspirants in the just concluded governorship primary wish to call all members of our party who have a genuine interest in the success of the party in the forthcoming general election in November to embrace peace for resounding victory in the polls.

“The party’s position is that Lucky Aiyedatiwa is our gubernatorial candidate, this position should be sacrosanct to us all even when some of us have expressed some reservations. We acknowledge that perfection is a moving target.

“As party leaders, who have contributed significantly to nurturing the party to impressive growth, we cannot allow anything that could lead to polarisation of our party with the potential consequence of undermining unity within our party.

“We, therefore, call on our supporters and all stakeholders to put aside personal interests and allow the overriding interest of the party to take precedence.

“We, therefore, call on all party men and women to rally behind our party’s candidate, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, henceforth to achieve outstanding victory.

“We, hereby, appeal to other aspirants and members of our great party, who are aggrieved to put aside their grievances in the larger interest of the party.

“We endorse genuine reconciliation efforts as proposed by our party.”

Adamant Jimoh Ibrahim

But one aspirant that has refused to shift grounds is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Affairs, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim.,

Ibrahim, who represents Ondo South Senatorial APC, Ondo South, in his argument described the April 20, 2024, primary election by the APC as a mega fraud.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Senator noted that there was no election as he could not vote for himself as materials were not made available.

He also berated members of the electoral panel including Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, just as he insisted that the primary polls must not be allowed to stand in the interest of internal party democracy.

He has already approached the High Court, calling on the Court to delist the APC from participating in the election slated for November this year.

He argued that “There was no election in 203 wards, it is a mega fraud.

“The report is based on INEC report of the monitoring exercise.
“The collation center was under lock and key.

“No election in over 70% of the wards in Ondo State (149 out of 203).
“There was no congress election.

“I couldn’t vote in my election. No single ballot paper was printed.

“Gov. Usman Ododo wrote the INEC on the 28th of April to requested for change of collation Centre.

“The new collation Centre was not communicated to aspirants neither did the INEC confirmed the new venue of the collation center.”

Despite the move by the APC leadership to reconcile aggrieved aspirants, Senator Ibrahim has remained adamant.

It is worthy noting that Senator Jimoh is one individual, who has always wanted the seat of Governor so badly, hence would want to pull down the system if it were not him.

Prior the primary election, the lawmaker was the only aspirant who placed from page advertorials in major newspapers in a bid to show off.

Interestingly, some APC stalwarts have picked holes in Ibrahim’s argument of a flawed primary election.

For instance, an APC chieftain, Biola Makinde, who rose to fault Jimoh Ibrahim’s claims, said: “The APC primary election was free and fair.

“There was a massive turnout of voters coming in to vote. “The whole exercise was good.”
Makinde also insisted that “Police and other law enforcement officers were around to monitor the exercise.”

Another APC stalwart, Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye defended the primary by arguing that “There was no controversy over outcome of the APC Governorship primary election.

“The most prepared candidate (Lucky Aiyedatiwa) won the election.

“Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa won the election clean and clear.

“Nothing absolutely was wrong with that primary election.”

INEC

Responding to allegations of irregularities, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with its process filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja has affirmed that the APC primary election in Ondo State, in which Governor Aiyedatiwa was elected as the party’s gubernatorial candidate, substantially complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.

This announcement serves as a vindication by the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Dr Kayode Ajulo, however, urged Nigerians to have trust in the judicial process, as the INEC’s affirmation reinforces the legitimacy of the APC’s candidate selection in Ondo State.

This development underscores the commitment of INEC and the relevant stakeholders to upholding the integrity of the electoral process, even in the face of allegations and challenges. It is a testament to the strengthening of Nigeria’s democratic institutions and the safeguarding of the people’s will.

Aiyedatiwa’s olive branch

Despite Senator Jimoh Ibrahim’s salvo, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa has remained focused.

For the wrong reasons, Governor Aiyedatiwa has been portrayed as a traitor.

Soon after Governor Rotimi Akeredolu died, attempts were put in motion to demarket Governor Aiyedatiwa.

So many conspiracies were cooked up against him as he was not allowed to lead even while it was obvious that late Governor Akeredolu was incapacitated.

Soon after being declared winner of the primary election, the governor extended an olive branch to his 15 co-contestants.

In his acceptance speech, he said: “Let me at this time acknowledge and thank all the aspirants who threw their hats into the ring in the family contest to be the flag-bearer: Hon. Mayowa Akinfolarin, Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, Sen. Jimoh Ibrahim, Mr. Wale Akinterinwa, Hon. Isaac D. Kekemeke, Hon. Gbenga Edema, Mr. Ohunyeye Olamide Felix, Hon. Olujimi Odimayo, Mr. Olusoji Ehinlanwo, Morayo Lebi Esq, Prince Diran Iyantan, Prof. Francis Faduyile, Engr. Ifeoluwa Oyedele, Mrs. Funmilayo Waheed Adekojo and Engr. Funke Omogoroye.”

In his humble nature, the governor commended the aspirants for participating in the exercise.
He said: “Your participation has created so much awareness within and outside our party. You mobilized our members and removed apathy.

“You have also brought in numerous new members into the party. All of these have enriched our democracy and strengthened our party in the state.”

Despite the attacks on his people, the governor has shown that he is a man of peace who is willing to and working to reconcile aggrieved people.

As the electioneering campaigns take off, it is important for all hands, in the APC in Ondo State, to be on deck for electoral victory.