Amosun responsible for Ogun APC post-primary crisis

A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State and former member of the House of Representatives, Abiodun Abdul Balogun, spoke with ERNEST NWOKOLO on the post-primay crisis that has hit the All Progressives Congress (APC) and how it can be resolved.

What is responsible for the current crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State?

Well, crisis is a very large word to use. I will say that there is a disagreement within the party. In politics we disagree to agree. What led to this disagreement, for me, I will not blame any other person than my governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and what he did is also universal with most governors presently serving in the country. Until we are able to take the hands of the governors off party administration in the country, we will continue to have these problems. I think it is an aberration that the governors are called the leaders of the party in their states. I believe that governors, just like other office holders, should face their duties, rather than getting involved in party administration.

Party administration, I believe, should be left with the party administrators as it was done in the days of the Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. What led to the crisis is just the high-handedness of some of our governors, particularly my own governor.

On the day of congresses, he came with a prepared list for party positions and we were just told to vote and affirm and since we had made up our minds that we don’t want crisis again within the party in the state, we just allowed the sleeping dog to lie. It’s not that we loved it as democrats but because we already gave our words that we don’t want to fight again, we decided to go along with him for peace to reign.

For the party primaries, Mr. Governor wrote 40 names for all the 40 offices in a state that is as sophisticated as Ogun State calling it consensus arrangement. Who reached the consensus? Where was it reached? I don’t know because I was an aspirant for House of Representatives for Ijebu North, Ijebu East and Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency. Nobody reached any consensus with me. We are about three or four in my constituency and what I heard next was that the governor has picked somebody. I rejected the move and said all aspirants should be allowed to go to the field and contest for the position.

The governor, as far as I’m concerned  is the cause of the crisis arising from the primaries. He wrote 40 names and did not carry anybody along and failed to consult anyone, even the leader of the party in the state, at least the national leader, Chief Olusegun Osoba.

Could you shed light on the motive behind the parallel primaries?

There were two sets of primaries don’t forget; there were governorship and legislative primaries. The governorship is the main thing the governor is fighting about, saying that he conducted a primary and it was going to be upheld, but we all know that is not correct. One, the governor’s camp or group resorted to what the national chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, called self-help. They did not participate in the primary ordered and supervised by the NWC’s election panel led by Mohammed Indabawa, a retired Commissioner of Police. In line with APC guidelines, the national headquarters of the party sent electoral panel to all the states, including Ogun. On the day the panel was to meet with the aspirants at MITROS Hall in Abeokuta, you all know what happened that night, when there was a shooting and everybody ran for his life. Now, the primary was fixed for Wednesday, but the governor in his wisdom, went to self conduct his own primary on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, they announced their own winner as Adekunle Akinlade. And you saw the state chairman of the party raising the hand of Akinlade as the winner of the primary. And the question you would want to ask yourself: does that fall within the purview of the state chairman? No! Because to conduct the primary is the sole responsibility of the national headquarters of all political parties. What was done in Ogun State was an aberration.

Then secondly, the state party chairman and his members of exco had been barred by an injunction of the Federal High Court from participating in the conduct of the primary, because of the congresss I earlier talked about is now a subject of litigation. This is because some people approached the court that the conduct of the congresses was a nullity. Therefore, FHC Abuja restrained the state exco, even the LG excos, to participate in any activities of the party, including primaries. Even them and their agents. So, what the party chairman did that day is even in contempt of the court. But be that as it may, with backing of the governor, claimed that they have conducted governorship primary. That was what was called self-help. So, it was their in-house primary they conducted for their consensus candidate. I was not part of the arrangement. So, as far as I am concerned, there was no primary. The only primary that was genuinely conducted took place on Wednesday and was supervised by the NWC’s election panel. And that was the one that produced Prince Dapo Abiodun as the governorship candidate of the party. There was a primary election in my ward, in local government – Ogun Waterside, in Ijebu area and Dapo Abiodun won that primaries hands down. And that was the one supervised and that was made the NWC of APC to declare Abiodun as the party’s flagbearer. That is the only primary conducted in line with guidelines and rules of the party.

What about the legislative primaries?

For these, the NWC sent another delegation for the exercises. But again, my governor, in his own wisdom, hijacked the duties of the committee. Because the committee had guidelines to follow – they supposed to have called a meeting with the aspirants, brief them on the modalities, including asking them the list of their agents to use. For instance, I am an aspirant, nobody invited me to a meeting. I did not know any modality, I did not know what to be done. I was in my ward with my supporters on the day of the primaries, waiting for the electoral officers to come, only to be told that primaries were being held here and there, without anybody being carried along. It was conducted by the governor and his team. Don’t forget that the governor himself is a senatorial aspirant for Ogun Central. You all saw him on the national television saying he was conducting primaries and had visited 11 wards to monitor the primaries. An aspirant conducting a primary is an aberration! This is not done anywhere.

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