The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has described as total falsehood the reasons put forward by Otunba Ademola Adeleke for his withdrawal from the primary election Osun West Senatorial District.
The primary was conducted on Wednesday.
In a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Osun State, Kunle Oyatomi, the party said the purported withdrawal and resignation by Adeleke was purely a reconsideration as well as an admission of his apparent weakness to confront a tough challenger with substantial grassroots backing.
Adeleke had alleged that he withdrew from the APC primary because of manipulation and interference by some political godfathers and the decision of the party not to conduct the primary election in Iwo, being the headquarters of Osun West Senatorial District.
The party, however, countered that the allegations by Adeleke were not only baseless and unsubstantiated, they were equally unfounded and had no direct or indirect bearing with the candidate’s decision to abandon his quest for the ticket.
Oyatomi said Adeleke was not conversant with the established procedure for the nomination of a candidate to contest an election in the APC.
The party scribe said checks also revealed that Adeleke was never a member of APC in the state as there is no evidence of his registration as a member in his Abogunde/Sagba Ward 2 in Ede North Local Government Area, adding that there were also no records of his involvement in party meetings at all levels.
He noted that the party also received petition dated June 9, 2017, which was to the effect that Adeleke is not a member of the APC in the state.
The statement said in part: “It is obvious that Otunba Ademola Adeleke is not conversant with the processes for the nomination of a candidate to contest an election in our party.
“Contrary to his erroneous claim of obvious manipulations and interference, paragraph 16(d) of the 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office makes it clear that the National Working Party (NWC), acting on behalf of National Executive Committee (NEC), is the ultimate authority on the qualifications of candidates to contest a primary election.
“This is more so if an appeal is lodged by any aggrieved aspirant or candidate. Therefore, the decision of the NWC cannot be seen as manipulation as this has been the standard practice of our great party since its formation.
“Second, the claim that the primary was not held at the Senatorial District headquarters is baseless. For one thing, there is no such thing as a senatorial district headquarters in the 1999 Constitution.
“As such, there is no provision either in the Constitution of the APC or the 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office that the primaries must be held at a particular venue. For example, the presidential primary in 2015 was held in Lagos. It could have been held in Osogbo or anywhere else in the country.
“Third, available records now reveal that Otunba Adeleke was never a member of APC in the state, as there is no evidence of his registration as a member in his Abogunde/Sagba Ward 2 in Ede North LGA. There are also no records of his involvement in party meetings at all levels.
“Rather, there is a petition, dated the 9th day of June, 2017, which is to the effect that Otunba Adeleke is not a member of the APC. At best, his only affiliations with the party were his occasional appearances with his late brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, at party functions, particularly the campaigns.
“The fact that he is a member of the Adeleke family therefore cannot and does not confer membership of the APC on him. This is like the case of Fadeyi Oloro, a popular Yoruba artiste, who always attends APC functions, without being a member of our great party.
“In any event, at the Security Stakeholders Meeting held just yesterday, where Otunba Adeleke was represented by his brother, Dele Adeleke, he did not object to the arrangements for the primary, but rather concurred with the outlined procedure, including the venue, security and logistic arrangements.”
Oyatomi averred that the purported withdrawal and resignation of Adeleke was, therefore, a second thought as well as an admission of his obvious weakness to confront a formidable opponent with massive grassroots support.
He said the APC in Osun State cannot be blackmailed by an opportunist and an upstart, who was committed to stealing the party’s mandate to the detriment of loyal and committed members that have toiled and sacrificed to build a formidable party of choice in the state and the country at large.
Oyatomi noted that the lesson anyone should learn from the above scenario is that it would be right for party to always queue behind a loyal member when a very important political decision is to be taken.
He continued: “The lesson to be learnt from this unfortunate event is that the party should stand at all times by its committed and loyal members, and abide by the constitution and core values that bind loyal party members. Our members should henceforth understand the hypocrisy of political jobbers, who are affiliating with us for pecuniary benefits.
“It is instructive to reflect on the sad irony of Otunba Adeleke’s behaviour. It will be recalled that it was Senator Mudashiru Olatunji Husain, who, in 2015, voluntarily relinquished the senatorial seat, which he won in the 2011 senatorial election against Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke with a landslide margin of 112,000 votes, at the behest of the party.
“As a loyal party member, Senator Hussain accepted the demand of the party to surrender the Senate seat he occupied to Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke without a contest, as a mark of honour for the deceased Senator and respect for the decision of the party.
“Let us contrast this with the noise and cacophony of Ademola Jackson Adeleke on the just decision of the apex decision making organ of the party, the NWC, to have a fair contest within the party, involving him and Senator Hussain, who yielded the seat for his brother two years ago, for the determination of who is the democratic choice of the party for the senatorial ticket in the West Senatorial election of July 8, 2017. Otunba Adeleke’s behaviour is aptly captured in the popular 1970s lyric of Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, which spoke of a proverbial fortune finder, who wants to die with it. You would wonder about what the person who lost the fortune should do.
“The nature and character of the individuals involved in the ongoing political drama are well exposed for our people to know and judge. Finally, we wish to assure the general public of our preparedness and commitment towards winning the bye-election slated for 8th of July 2017.”