Ondo 2020: I’m not afraid of direct primaries – Akeredolu

YEMIE FASH

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Ondo 2020: I’m not afraid of direct primaries – Akeredolu

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has declared he is not bothered over which system of primaries will be adopted by the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ondo State ahead of the October 10 governorship election.

He expressed the confidence that whether it is direct or indirect primary that is used, he will defeat other aspirants labouring to wrest the party ticket from him.

His commissioner for information, Donald Ojogo, who spoke on his behalf in Akure on Saturday, dismissed the insinuation that he was afraid of direct primary.

He said that most advocates of the direct primary election did not have structures to win any contest in the party.

Mr Akeredolu also said he is popular and has performed well hence he would win any mode of primary election conducted by the APC.

Party chieftains and aspirants, largely of the opposing faction of the APC in the state, had called for direct primaries as a way to beat the governor’s established delegates and to increase their chances of winning the polls.

One of the aspirants who had spoken clearly on the mode of election, Isaacs Kekemeke, said the direct primaries would allow members of the party to make their choice for the governorship election.

A former deputy governor of the state, Ali Olanusi, who is the leader of the Unity Forum, the factional group within the party, had also called on the party headquarters to ensure that direct primary system was adopted for the Ondo election.

However, the National Working Committee had earlier said it was yet to take a final decision on the mode of primaries.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had earlier fixed the governorship elections in both Edo and Ondo states for September 19 and October 10, respectively.

Exuding confidence

Mr Ojogo insisted that the governor was not opposing any form of primaries.

“We’ve not come out as a government that we are opposed to direct primary, neither had Mr Governor expressed aversion for same,” he said. “We’re not afraid of any mode of the primary and I’ll want the public to know too that the noise being orchestrated by those in the Unity Forum for the direct primary is to put out a narrative that Mr Governor is opposed to any direct primary.”

“In fact, we will even prefer a direct primary. So those who are making noise about direct primary are only wasting their time.

“I have to say this, the truth of the matter is there are no two situations that are the same. Somebody made allusion to the situation in Lagos State.

“Everybody stepped down for a particular aspirant then and it was a two traffic contest between the incumbent governor and the then governor.

“For those who clamour for direct primary, the message to them is that Akeredolu is more prepared for any mode of primary than those who clamour for direct.”

Other leading aspirants for the ticket include Olusegun Abraham, Olusola Oke, Olarewaju Kazeem, Bukola Adetula, Dapo Adelegan, Adelami Olayide Owolabi, Akintunde Akinsewa Awodeyi, Jumoke Anifowose, Ife Oyedele and Jimmy Odimayo.

The Unity Forum has already picked Mr Oke as its consensus candidate, a decision that has divided the forum and scuttled their earlier agreements.