PRESS STATEMENT

Recently, a group of individuals emerged in the Ondo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and called themselves “the Aborigines” of the party in the state. We recognise the fact that it is a normal development to have tendencies within a large political organisation. But we find it worrisome to see a few individuals arrogating to themselves the absolute right of ownership of the APC in the state.

Members of this group, in their self-conceitedness, have decided to impose a governorship candidate on the APC in Ondo state even before the conduct of the party’s shadow election which has been slated for April 25, 2024. Media reports said they had set up a committee to screen aspirants for the ticket of the party and that the committee had shortlisted three among the contenders. The reports added that the group would make its report public and announce its preferred aspirant this week.

What gave rise to this intervention is the gusto with which members of this divisive group advertise their “aboriginal” right and the putrid smell of discrimination in their language and disposition. We see it as an insult to the sensibilities of other members of the APC in Ondo state for members of this group to arrogantly claim membership superiority. If we may ask, what exactly does the group mean by the “APC aborigines?” It needs to explain its concept of the term.

We would like to warn that the claim of sole ownership of the APC and the unwarranted sense of entitlement of members of this group is unhealthy and dangerous for a political party that cherishes cohesion and national unity on a daily basis. It is, no doubt, that these people have been consistently disrupting the peace of the party.

It is no more a secret that members of the group like Ambassador Sola Iji, Senator Ajayi Boroffice and Hon. Bola Ilori have identified with the aspiration of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa. They have openly declared their support for the gubernatorial ambition of the governor. Given this fact, we wonder if they have not lost their neutrality in the issue of the party’s governorship candidacy in the state.

It is our belief that these few diaspora individuals only want to use Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa’s gubernatorial ambition to create underserved political image for themselves and thereby gain from the largesse that would be sourced from the state coffers to fund the election of Mr Governor.

Many of us who have been around Ondo state for years are aware that many of these few individuals, who have proclaimed aboriginal rights in the state chapter of the APC, live outside the state and have not made any known investment, both human and financial, to the party in the last five years and above. Let these diaspora political lords tell the APC leaders and members in Ondo state their impact in the recent bye election we had in Ondo state and the 2023 elections.

One of the things that promote democracy and enhance participation in its process is inclusiveness. That, of course, would explain the reason the APC national leader and president of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is running a government of national unity. If President Bola Tinubu could accommodate former Governor Nyesom Wike, Senator Dave Umai and other individuals who are not even members of any political party as well as support Godswill Akpabio to be Senate President, claiming to be aboriginal members in a party that desires inclusiveness is fraudulent and anti progressive. It also smacks of direct attack on the liberal political principle of President Tinubu.

In Ondo state, leaders and committed members of the party could testify to the effort of some individuals who recently joined the APC. They have not only invested their resources, but they have made productive efforts to mobilise for the APC. For instance, Barrister Olumuyiwa Adu and others have done well for the party. Describing him as a second citizen in a party in which he has invested his time and resources is just uncharitable.

If these few elements, who are tied to the apron string of Governor Lucky Ayedatiwa, could come around to create an overrated impression that they own the APC more than the individuals who have always been with the party financially and morally, just because they want to install a governor they want to tuck into their big but empy pockets, what then is progressive about their politics, character and agenda?

These people are simply a set of individiuals with an inordinate expansionist agenda. The APC national leadership and the people of Ondo state should beware of their antics. their selfish choice cannot be imposed on all of us.

Signed:

Hon Afe Olowookere
Former member, House of Representatives, and Chairman, Ondo Progressive Front.

March 24th, 2024.

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