THE Executive Assistant to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on political matters, Dr Morohunkola Thomas has reacted to a statement credited to Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications and a gubernatorial aspirant in the state accusing the governor of running the party -All Progressives Congress (APC) with impunity.
This is sequel to his claims that he coordinated the Oke-Ogun zone during the electioneering period.
Reacting to the development, in a chat with an online news tabloid, Dr Morohunkola Thomas said the minister is goofed in making such assertion, stressing that Barrister Shittu lost in his own polling booth during the 2015 elections.
He also alleged that the minister canvassed openly for the candidate of Accord party (AP), just as he punctured his claims that he coordinated the Oke-Ogun zone during the electioneering periods, emphasising that he took the candidate of his party, the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi to court challenging his nomination “.
Dr Thomas, who expressed his amazement at the development said, “what did he coordinate? Did he even win his polling booth? The APC did not even win in his polling booth, he was not involved. This man canvassed openly for the candidate of Accord party (AP) in the last election, he did not only did that, he actually took the candidate of his party, that is the incumbent governor , Senator Isiak Abiola Ajimobi to court challenging his nomination, he was putting all kind of legal roadblocks on the way of the party from winning that election, if we had lost that election I am sure Shittu would have decamp to Accord Party (AP) so what impunity is he talking about?”.
“This governor is restructuring the party, he is reforming and reinvigorating the party, when we set up council of elders that were inaugurated, is that impunity, this is the involvement of credible and notable leaders across all the local governments coming together to advise the government and move the party forward, it’s that impunity, is that not democratic, is that not the way to run the party, is Barrister Shittu a financial member of this party, what contribution has he made to the party, what was his contribution to the election, what role did he play even in his local government, Saki West in the course of the election?”, he questioned.
Dr Thomas continued, ” we were on the road campaigning for the governor and President Buhari, Barrister shittu was not involved , I remember vividly that he surfaced at Mapo when the then General Buhari came for campaign after that he fizzled out again, so he has not integrated himself into this party, he is not rooted in this party, he doesn’t even know the affairs of this party, how can he be describing the action of the governor and the elders as impunity, I think that is far from the truth”.
He, however counseled the Minister to count himself very lucky to have actually been appointed.
Exclusive: Ex-Oyo SSG, Alli may lose more loyalists
The 2019 governorship candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Chief Sharafadeen Alli may lose more followers to other parties before 2023 elections, Mega Icon Magazine exclusively gathered.
Mega Icon Magazine also confirmed that some members of the ZLP, including Alli’s close supporters are now comfortable in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while others are now weighing the options of joining the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
It will be recalled that the former Secretary to Oyo State Government, Alli was the gubernatorial nominee of the ZLP, one of the political parties that formed alliance with Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidate, Oloye Adebayo Adelabu during the March 9 , 2019 gubernatorial election.
Justifying their decisions, the followers informed that they left the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) because it was becoming directionless.
“As at now, the group is still believing a third force will emerge and clinch the day, and that force will be ZLP. Honestly, ZLP doesn’t have the financial and political muscle to do that”, they said.
The demoralized loyalists wondered why Barrister Sharafadeen Alli (BSA) can not stand on his own feet and make decisions instead of waiting for directives from former Governor Rasidi Ladoja who they believed is double faced in the circumstances and getting patronage from Governor Makinde.
“We don’t seem to understand why BSA has to tie himself down to the whims and caprices of Baba Ladoja”.
They averred that though, the coalition was a good idea, but lamented that the parties involved, particularly the ZLP guber candidate, Alli failed to document and made legal the agreement, describing it as a mere ‘gentleman agreement’ which was not binding.
One of his close loyalists who confided in our reporter further explained, “Before the March 9 governorship elections, I was of the opinion that while the coalition was a good idea, whatever was going to be agreed on must be documented, if possible signed and made legal. But Alli went on to do a ‘gentleman agreement’ which was not binding just because Baba Ladoja said so.
“After the governorship elections, Chief Alli wanted to be SSG but instead of talking to Governor Makinde directly, he was counting on former Governor Ladoja to fix things. Unfortunately, Baba Ladoja never discussed it with the governor.
“Later, he (Alli) was offered membership of Advisory Committee and Ladoja told him to decline, yet the former governor accepted the Commissioner slot given by Governor Makinde.
“At that point we had two options. Go to APC or PDP. Instead of taking a stand, we were waiting for a directive from Baba Ladoja who is getting patronage from the present administration.
“My brother, ZLP is directionless; remaining in that party meant a bleak future for some of us. We are now in PDP, while others are already discussing with the APC”, he added.
Viral Video: Detractors want to damage the exercise, I was not injured – Akeredolu’s wife
Wife of the Ondo state governor, Mrs. Betty Akeredolu, on Saturday dismissed a viral video stating she was injured at the polling centre after thugs invaded the place. She said the video was meant to damage the voting exercise, distort information and put it in a bad light.
Mrs Akeredolu stressed that the sponsors of the video were insane.
“That is insane, that is absurd. That tells you how desperate people can be in politics or our political landscape.
“I am here in the ambience of my country home and somebody is there doctoring video that I was injured.
“Were you the one that injured me? Such desperation will not do any good to them.
The governor’s wife who spoke at their Owo residence expressed optimism that her husband would emerge victorious.
According to her, “People are exercising their franchise. The good thing is that people are voting in a peaceful manner. If we continue like that in all other polling unit we dont have anything to fear about violence
“We encourage people to vote and not fight. I urged people to vote in a peaceful manner so that our voices will be held.
“The detractors want to damage the exercise, to distort information and put one on a bad light. It is all false. We will emerge victorious”, she submitted
Ondo Guber Race: PDP rejects OAU VC as Chief Returning Officer, says don is Akeredolu’s crony
The National Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State, on Thursday rejected the appointment of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as the Chief Returning Officer for the election.
Chairman of the Campaign Council, who is also the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, who addressed newsmen in Akure raised the alarm, declaring that the people of Ondo State could be shortchanged if Ogunbodede is allowed to serve as the Returning Officer.
He said that the VC is a crony of the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Areredolu (SAN), adding that such a situation cannot guarantee a free and fair election.
According to him, there appears a high plot to sabotage the will of the voters in the state by ensuring that they do not get a free and fair election.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the appointment of Ogunbodede, a crony of the incumbent Ondo State Governor, who is also the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will compromise the election.
Besides being a crony of the Ondo State governor, Ogunbodede equally hails from Owo town, the governor added.
Makinde called on INEC to replace Prof. Ogunbodede as Chief Returning Officer with a neutral individual, adding that such a sensitive position must be held by someone who has no affiliation with any of the parties in the election.
The PDP National Campaign Council also declared that Professor A.S. Bamire, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training for returning officers, is not a neutral party for the purpose of the election.
The statement also indicated that the governor called on all lovers of democracy around the world to be alert to the machinations of the APC-led Federal Government to rig the Ondo State governorship election.
The campaign council urged the United Nations, the European Union, the United States of America and the United Kingdom and all lovers of democracy to call INEC to order, stating that it is already compiling names of all actors and would not hesitate to recommend the same for visa ban based on their actions and inactions in Saturday’s election.
Makinde said: “All the hard work and support that we have provided for our candidate, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who will help us reclaim Ondo, comes down to one date, the 10th of October, 2020.
“However, it has come to our notice that the people of Ondo State will not be getting a free and fair election if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as presently composed, will be overseeing the election in Ondo State.
“We are speaking in particular about the appointment of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife as the Chief Returning Officer of the Ondo State governorship election.
“The PDP totally rejects Prof. Ogunbodede, who is acting as the Chief Returning Officer. The reasons are very clear. He is a known crony of the current governor of Ondo State, who is also the candidate of APC, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN). He hails from Owo, the same hometown as the candidate of the APC. He cannot be a fair party in the proceeding by the virtue of their association.
“We also want to state that Professor A.S Bamire, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training of returning officers, is not a neutral party for the purpose of this election.
“We, therefore, call on INEC to stay true to their names and replace Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede with a disinterested party. The Chief Returning Officer should have no affiliations with any of the participating parties in the election.”
Governor Makinde, who called on the international community to be alert to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo, said: “We also take this opportunity to call on all lovers of democracy around the world to pay attention to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo State.
“We call on the United Nations, European Union, United State, and the United Kingdom and, indeed, and indeed, all allies of democracy, to call INEC to order.
“We are compiling the names of the people involved in there and I believe those people will be good candidates for the visa ban, because if they try to rig this election and they stay here with us, then we will reach out to them after the election to either say thank you or show them what it is if they allow themselves to be used to deny the people of Ondo State the free will to choose their leader.”
The governor commended security agencies in Ondo State for doing well so far, warning, however, that they should not allow themselves to be used as tools to subvert the will of the people.
He further said: “We call on all security agencies in Ondo State not to allow themselves to be used as a tool against the will of the people.
“So far, they have done very well. So, we take this opportunity to commend them for what they have done so far. But we still have a long way to go. Until we see to the end of this process and a governor-elect is declared, it is going to be eternal vigilance for us. So, we urge the security agencies to still do more.
“Please, don’t forget that history and posterity have never been kind to people who allow themselves to be used as a tool for injustice. We urge our security agencies to read the mood of the people and act accordingly.
“Well, politicians, I am one, will come and go, but the people will always remain; and our state and our country will remain. And everyone should remember the world is watching us.”
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