By; ODEYENI SAMUEL, Akure
All Progressives Congress (APC) Ondo Central Senatorial District Chairman and associate of Senator Bola Tinubu, Mr Adegboyega Adedipe has resigned his position in protest against the handling of the party’s governorship primary election.
Adedipe, one of the leaders of the party who petitioned the leadership over the ‘fraud’ that pervaded the primary, calling for the cancellation of the “corrupt outcome, claimed that the list of delegates from his senatorial districts was “padded”.
Publicity Secretary of the party Abayomi Adesanya, confirmed the resignation of Adedipe, adding that the party official had returned all the party’s property in his care to the secretariat in Akure, the state capital.
“I can confirm to you that Mr. Adedipe has resigned as the Chairman of Ondo Central Senatorial District of the APC. He said he took the decision for peace to reign in the party and also for the progress of the party”, he said.
It was learnt that State Chairman Isaac Kekemeke, who was disparaged by Akeredolu before the primary, might also resign.
It was gathered that Kekemeke had removed his personal effects including his photographs from the secretariat.
After the initial calm that followed its Ondo State governorship primary, the All Progressives Congress (APC) later got the signs that all was not well.
Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) was declared the winner of the election, which some stakeholders have rejected, urging the party to cancel the exercise. They said the list used for accreditation of delegates was not authentic.
One of the petitioners, Mr Akintunde Temitope, chairman of APC, Ondo East Local Government, premised his disapproval of the primary election on what he described as doctored delegate, list used for the exercise in his area. He attached the list of delegates and marked out fictitious names in the list.
Temitope said: “We were shocked to discover the massive fraud that characterised the September 3, governorship primary. A strange delegate list was introduced on the night of the election after everybody had gone to sleep only for us to wake up on the morning of election to see a massively adulterated delegates list.”
According to him, names of 47 per cent of the legitimate delegates in Ondo East Local Government were either deleted or substituted with people who were not known to the party as executive committee members.
He said contrary to the agreement between the APC national secretariat and the aspirants that only the list of those who had voted in the National Assembly election and other previous primaries would be used for the governorship primary, the list used was different.
“The national secretariat of the party released a definite delegates list, which is in tandem with correct realities in our Local Government, among others, to all the aspirants three days to the election on Wednesday 31st of August, 2016, only for the midnight list to surface on the morning of the election.
“We wrote a petition to the Primary Election Petition Chairman on the morning of the election and he repeated the fact that only people that had been voting in previous primaries would be allowed to vote, with a promise to stand down the voting process for Ondo East and Ondo West Local Governments. We were shocked that the committee never honoured the pledge,” he stated.
APC Ondo Central Senatorial District Chairman Mr Adegboyega Adedipe said the result “is not anywhere near the true reflection of the opinion of our party in the state”.
Adedipe stated that “the delegates list used for the primary was so padded that no meaningful results could be based on such a warped list. Ondo East and Ondo West were the worst-hit in my senatorial district where about 50 per cent of the legitimate delegates were disenfranchised.
“Many non-delegates were seen voting on Saturday with the connivance of the corrupt security agencies. In view of the corrupt practices that dominated the primary, Ondo Central is calling on you to quickly investigate the huge fraud and order a fresh primary that will be a true reflection of the opinion of our party.”
In a letter of protest, the APC Chairman, Ondo East Local Government, Mr Akintunde Samuel said it was disheartening that the election committee had reneged on the promise to use the official delegates list released by the APC national secretariat which had been previously used for primary elections.
The letter dated September 2, 2016 which was addressed to the Chairman, Governorship Election Committee, the leader of APC in Ondo East said: “We were shocked to find fictitious names thaty have never voted before, and even names from Ward 2 that never held congress, talk more producing delegates from same.”
An APC chieftain, Comrade Sola Iji, said the delegate list was manipulated . He cited the case of Ondo South Senatorial District Woman Leader, Ms Toyin Ajinde whose name was substituted with unknown name. He said there were similar cases of authentic delegates whose names were missing on the list.
Iji said on the surface value the process appeared transparent but the exercise was bungled with multiple delegates list flying around among the aspirants and stakeholders.
A staunch supporter of Chief Sola Oke, one of the aspirants, Mrs Simisola Jegede-Ayoade, said: “When we heard about 3 a.m. on Saturday the day of the election that they had changed the delegates list, we called our candidate to ask if he was aware. Chief Oke told us he was aware but that nothing could be done about it because the time was too short.”
Mrs Ayoade said there was confusion over list for Ondo East, Ondo West and Ondo South. “Even Ese-Odo Local Government, where Oke hails from, only 11 delegates on the list were authentic. Oke has every right to complain. If he had started raising alarm on the day of election, people would have misconstrued his position.
By; ODEYENI SAMUEL, Akure