As the National Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) prepares to commence the process of picking its flag-bearer for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Ondo State, party stakeholders in the State have called for the adoption of direct primaries as the mode for the selection of the candidate. They contended that the choice of direct primaries would give every registered member of the party in the State the opportunity to participate in the selection process.
A party stakeholder in Akure, Chief Olutayo Adeyanju, stated that the direct primaries would guarantee a level playing ground for all the APC gubernatorial aspirants and ensure that no one is shortchanged. He noted that the option of indirect primaries was fraught with malpractices and susceptible to manipulation, adding that the process can easily be corrupted by the financial inducement of delegates who constitute the Electoral College.
Adeyanju stated as follows: “We urge the National Caretaker Committee of our great party, APC, to ensure that a level playing field is provided for all the contending aspirants. And the surest way of doing this is by adopting direct primaries as the mode for the conduct of the gubernatorial primaries. The adoption of the direct primaries would allow all registered party members in the State to participate in the process while guaranteeing equal opportunities for all the aspirants.”
According to him, many members of the party and other stakeholders are disenchanted with the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu whom they accuse of running a mediocre administration. They alleged that the administration has not lived up to the expectations of the populace in terms of delivering the dividends of democracy to the good people of Ondo State. They accuse the Governor of commercializing education and health services in the State, thus putting such essential services beyond the reach of the common people.
One of the aspirants who spoke under anonymity shared the same views. He stated as follows: “People are tired of capital flight out of the State. People are tired of the government that does not respect party leaders. People are tired of the commercialization of education; they are tired of the commercialization of health services; the people need a new face of APC in the State.”
He further noted as follows: “Our experience in the last election showed that something must be done to rescue APC in Ondo State. Our people are hungry and angry. Our people are tired of a government that is not sensitive to their needs.”
The mood in the party favours the removal of Akeredolu because of the poor showing of his administration which led to the defeat of the APC in the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly polls in the State by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But the Governor with some of his aides are fighting the political battle of their lives to ensure that he retains the ticket.
Majority of party members believe that if Akeredolu is fielded as the flag-bearer, the party would lose to the PDP which is currently experiencing increased momentum with the defection of the serving Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, to the party. It is their firm view that the adoption of the direct primaries would help the APC to make the right choice.