All is not well in the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State, as the state executive committee of the party has rejected the award of an automatic ticket by the National Working Committee of the party to the senator representing Ondo North senatorial district, Robert Boroffice, for the senatorial election.
The NWC gave the ticket to Mr Boroffice against the wish of the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
The two other serving senators, Tayo Alasoadura (central) and Yele Omogunwa (south), were also awarded automatic tickets, as their opponents in the primaries were disqualified.
The state chapter of the party is urging the NWC to reverse the automatic nomination of Mr Boroffice in the interest of fairness to those who had been loyal to the party.
The war between the senator and the party in the state stemmed from the controversies which bedevilled the primaries of the party during the 2016 governorship election and the events after the election.
The state chapter, in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Steve Otaloro, expressed its displeasure over the handling of the screening exercise, saying it was capable of creating apathy among dedicated members of the party in the state.
At an emergency meeting of stakeholders in Akure on Tuesday, the party observed that the action of its national secretariat had encouraged Mr Borroffice and his “disciples” who had allegedly been walking the path of destroying the party in the state by stirring commotion, disaffection and widespread apathy among members of the party.
The party said clearing Mr Boroffice had dampened the spirits of those who had sacrificed to get the party to its enviable position in the state.
It alleged that the senator had never contributed anything to the activities of APC in the state and had engaged in anti-party activities, noting that one of such activities nearly cost the party the governorship election.
“Every politics is local, as they say, but Senator Boroffice’s type of politics is a deviation. He hobnobs with the powers that be, at 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse, Abuja, mud-slinging the leadership of the party in the state to get his wish done, to become presented as the only candidate for the coming senatorial election,” the statement read.
“It was noted that, through a backdoor snitch on other contestants who are equally contesting the same senatorial seat, Senator Boroffice got a preferential clearance as the party flag bearer. He needed explaining that.
“The stakeholders meeting resolved that the backdoor arrangement that favoured the likes of Borrofice against other aspirants notable amongst whom are the human right lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, a former House Speaker, and grassroots mobilizer Hon, Victor Olabimtan, is considered unfair, unjust and stands rejected.”
The party stakeholders, however, noted that its national leadership was not to be blamed for the development, as it was misled by the said senator.
“The likes of Borroffice and few others asked for direct primary, they got, but what they did with it is appalling,” the party said.
“This unfortunate decision of giving certain members preference over the others, by clearing them to contest, but weaved disqualification for others has the propensity of destroying the strong sense of oneness of our members in the state.
“This should be condemned by all reasonable persons. It should not stand. We have no doubt that our party’s national leadership will reassess the issue and correct it.”
The party also alleged that Mr Borroffice had for a long time disconnected himself from the party in the state, a situation that would make it difficult for loyal party members to campaign for APC in the coming election.
“We urge our leadership to reverse its decision for the good tenets of democracy to flourish. Democracy is a system that promotes the rule of law, not individuals,” it added.
In his reaction, Mr Boroffice said he was not involved in any backdoor arrangement as regards the senatorial primary election of the APC in his senatorial district.
A statement by his Press Secretary, Kayode Fakuyi, on Wednesday, said the outcome of the exercise was not a surprise as the senator had participated and won competitive elections in the past.
“As it was done in the past, on Tuesday, Senator Ajayi Boroffice rolled out his political machinery across the 72 wards in Ondo North senatorial district for a competitive primary election,” the statement said.
“We were at the designated voting centres when the National leadership of APC published results of the screening exercise.
“As regards the screening exercise, we are aware the party considered many parameters, including qualification, competence, experience and loyalty to the ideology of the All Progressives Congress.
“Therefore, Senator Ajayi Boroffice should be counted out of any backdoor arrangement. As a matter of fact, the allegation of backdoor arrangement is an imaginative and imagined fabrication. There is no such thing like backdoor arrangement.”
The statement further described as “crass crudity” for the APC in the state to single out Mr Boroffice for media attack, even though the APC released results of the screening exercise for the three senatorial districts of the state.
It said the leaders and stakeholders of the party should be assured that Mr Borroffice would mobilise party members and voters in the 72 wards of Ondo North senatorial district and beyond for the victory of the APC at all levels in the 2019 general elections.
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