The Osun Chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has described as total falsehood the reasons put forward by Otunba Ademola Adeleke for his withdrawal from the primary election for the Senatorial ticket for the Osun West district conducted on Wednesday by the party.
In a statement by the Publicity Secretary of Osun APC, Barr. 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 the 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 party’s 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 that 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 LGA, his ward, 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 the 9th day of June, 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 that APC Osun State Chapter 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.
However, Adeleke, now Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Osun West Senatorial District bye-election, insisted that he was a card-carrying member of All Progressive Congress (APC).
He told newsmen at PDP National Secretariat on Thursday in Abuja, while receiving the party’s flag for the July 8 election, that he defected to the PDP due to “injustice’’ in APC’s screening process for primaries.
Adeleke, younger brother to late Sen. Isiaka Adeleke, described APC as party of liars, claiming that he won the party’s “first and second screening of aspirants for the election’’ but was denied.
“I was a PDP member before we had little problem which made my late brother and I to decamp to APC at the same time.
“Immediately we left PDP, they gave everybody a card; we registered, signed and showed it to the whole world.
“How can they come now and lie? They lied and they are shaking now. I was a member and I have left their party. That is not a party; a party that lied and not steadfast, thank God I am back home now to PDP,’’ he said.
On his chances of winning the bye-election, Adeleke, who emerged PDP candidate in Wednesday’s primaries, expressed optimism that he would win, saying that he was not new in Osun politics.
He said that most political parties, including the Accord and Labour, and people of the state, were in full support of his candidature.
National Chairman of PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, who presented the flag to Adeleke, assured him of the party’s support towards winning the election.
Sheriff promised to be at the candidate’s flag-off campaign at Ede, and urged him “to go and win the election’’.