The All Progressives Congress in Ondo State on Tuesday erupted in a crisis with some members claiming they have impeached the chairman, Isaacs Kekemeke, for his involvement in the endorsement of an aspirant ahead of the governorship primaries slated for August 27.
The group forcefully took over the state secretariat along Oyemekun Road, shutting the gates against Mr. Kekemeke and his allies.
They also announced the appointment of Saka Ogunleye as their new chairman.
At the time journalists visited the secretariat, the members were waiving placards, protesting the rumoured endorsement of one of the aspirants, Olusegun Abraham, by the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu.
They alleged that Mr. Kekemeke had compromised his position by allowing the “imposition” of a candidate in spite of the agreement that all aspirants should prove their popularity at the primary election.
The rumoured endorsement by Mr. Tinubu was disclosed by a governorship aspirant, Tunji Abayomi, in a letter he wrote to Mr. Tinubu, challenging the latter’s interference in the democratic process in the state.
Mr. Abayomi had warned the former Lagos governor to steer clear of the process of selecting a candidate for the party and allow the people of the Stste to choose their leaders.
But Mr. Tibunu had since replied Mr. Abayomi’s letter, saying that he had the right to support any aspirant for the ticket of Ondo APC governorship candidate.
The protest on Tuesday was a reaction to the development, as the protesters vowed to resist any imposition of a candidate on the party.
A group known as the Owo/Ose Egalitarian Group, had earlier rejected the imposition, saying the action negated the principle of fairness and denied the people of Owo/Ese federal constituency the right to produce a governor for the state.
It’s coordinator, Akin Famadenuyi, who protested the imposition in s statement, said the leaders of the party should not take away the rights of the people of his constituency the right to reduce the next governor by zoning it to another.
But Mr. Kekemeke who appeared unruffled by the uproar said the development was an expression of democracy in action.
“You know our party is a progressive party and what happened today is part of the vibrancy in the party,” he said.
“I am not angry because people are free to express how they feel especially given the fact that APC has a high propensity to win the coming election.
“People have invested their time and energy in the pursuit of their ambitions, and they are bound to vent their frustrations if they think that those ambitions are dimming.”
Mr. Kekemeke however wondered why some aspirants were trying to deny others the same endorsements they sought as they campaigned for support ahead of the primaries.
He said most of the aspirants had gone to Mr. Tinubu to seek his endorsement for the election, but while some failed to secure his support, some others might have succeeded.
“To seek endorsement from anyone is normal in a democratic process, it is political illiteracy to be angry because someone got endorsed and you did not get the endorsement, which you also sought,” he said.
“The aspirants have been going around trying to get endorsements even from me and I don’t think there is anything wrong if anyone got endorsed.
“Whatever the case, I can assure you that everyone will still have to submit himself to the primaries and a candidate will emerge through a free and fair election.”
He said he was willing to be the “scape goat,” as the chairman of the party, saying he would be strong to receive whatever attack that would come to him in the process.
He promised that the issues would be resolved and the present state of things would not affect the process of the coming primaries.