There is an uneasy calm in the camp of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State as governorship aspirants and party members await the report of the Appeals Committee handling complaints arising from the September 3 primary election.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered on Sunday that activities at the party secretariat in Akure have come to a halt amidst fears that the outcome of the report could break up the party and mar its chances of winning the next governorship election.
A source at the party’s secretariat disclosed that besides the earlier resignation of the chairman of the party in Ondo Central, the state Chairman of the party, Isaacs Kekemeke, had planned to resign after the primary but delayed following the suspense created by the appeals against the election.
“Right now everything is in a standstill. We don’t know who is in control because of the suspense created by the delay in making the content of the report public,” the source said.
“We hear that the party leaders are trying to delay the report so that by the time it is made public it will be difficult for aspirants to decamp to other parties.
“Kekemeke had prepared to resign earlier, but with the appeals, he has slowed down, because if the appeals’ upholds the election of Rotimi Akeredolu, then he might as well resign. But if the election will be conducted afresh it might give him another opportunity to ensure his candidate wins the election.”
The greatest fear, it was gathered, is that some aspirants who alleged rigging at the primary and sought for cancellation, could dump the party should the report uphold the result of the primary.
The APC’s Director of Publicity, Steve Otaloro, told PREMIUM TIMES that the Appeals Committee had submitted its report to the National Working Committee.
He said it was not clear when the decision of the appeals committee would be made public, noting that the report is being awaited by both aspirants and members.
He admitted that the decision of the appeals committee was crucial in determining the party’s next line of action in its quest to unseat the Peoples Democratic Party in the coming governorship election.
The result of the primary, won by Rotimi Akeredolu, was contested by three of the aspirants: Ajayi Boroffice, Olusegun Abraham, and Olusola Oke.
They alleged that the election was fraught with irregularities and that the delegates list used for the primary was illegal.
Mr. Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, won the primary after scoring 669 votes, while his closest rival, Mr. Abraham, polled 635 votes.
Mr. Oke came third with 576 votes, closely followed by Mr. Boroffice with 471 votes.
All the appellants have urged the Appeals Committee to cancel the primary and conduct a fresh one.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr. Oke has perfected plans to leave the party should the committee decide to uphold the election of Mr. Akeredolu.
A source close to his campaign team said although it was unclear where the former PDP National Legal Adviser would be heading, it was clear he was heading out of the APC.
“It is true that he has plans to leave the party, but it would depend on the outcome of the party’s appeal committee sitting on the matter,” the source said.
There were, however, rumours that Mr. Oke had perfected plans to pitch his tent with the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
But his spokesman, Rotimi Ogunleye, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Oke was not going to join APGA.
“We are waiting for the report of the appeal committee,” Mr. Ogunleye said.
“No decision can be taken until the report is out, so the rumours that he (Mr. Oke) has decamped is not true.”