The crisis rocking the factional group of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Unity Forum in Ondo State appears to have deepened.
This followed the adoption of Chief Olusola Oke as the group’s consensus candidate to contend with the incumbent governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who is seeking a second term.
The Unity Forum led by Alhaji Ali Olanusi has vowed to unseat Governor Akeredolu but members of the Forum cried foul when Olanusi unveiled Oke as its consensus candidate.
Olanusi in a statement said Oke was picked in a report submitted by the Gubernatorial Candidate Selection Committee.
He said the Unity Forum “by the content of the report has adopted Chief Olusola Oke (SAN) as the candidate of the Forum. All the leaders and members of the Unity Forum are hereby enjoined to begin mobilisation across the state for the candidate of the Forum.”
As at press time, at least one governorship aspirant, Dapo Adelegan; secretary of the Forum’s screening committee, Professor Sola Ehindero as well as the Deputy Senate Leader, Robert Ajayi Borofice, have individually rejected the purported adoption of Oke.
Boroffice, who is the patron of the Unity Forum, has, however, come under criticism for his stance as another group, Unity Mandate Agenda, has accused the senator of working to undermine the process of picking the consensus candidate before now.
Boroffice had shortly after the controversial announcement of Oke on Tuesday, issued a statement disowning the process even as he urged all aspirants to prepare for the primary.
“The media report suggesting that Unity Forum has adopted a consensus candidate to represent the Forum in Ondo APC governorship primary election is misleading. The fact is that Unity Forum has no consensus candidate, Boroffice said in a statement signed by his media aide, Kayode Fakuyi.
In the same vein, the secretary of the screening committee, Professor Soal Ehindero, dissociated himself from the announcement of Oke as consensus candidate of the Unity Forum.
“The attention of the duly elected secretary of the Screening Committee of the Unity Forum set up to select a consensus candidate for the APC in the next governorship elections has been drawn to a fake report from an unauthorised person.
“The said fake report now in the social media, purportedly named one Chief Olusola Oke (SAN) as the committee’s elected ‘consensus candidate’.”
Also, the Dapo Adelegan campaign outfit has disowned the endorsement of Oke. A statement from the office said the process was unacceptable to their principal.
“Prince Dapo Adelegan was not a party to any meeting or decision process to announce a consensus candidate. To the best of our understanding, the other aspirants are still discussing amongst themselves on the possibility of a consensus candidate.
“Our expectation is that by July 2020, an APC candidate will emerge from a formal primary and will move on to emerge as the governor of Ondo State in October of 2020 by God’s grace,” the media office said in an unsigned release.
Notwithstanding, the Unity Mandate Agenda accused Boroffice of playing politics of divide and rule to frustrate the Unity Forum.