By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor,
For a party that is united by nothing else but a seeming hatred for Governor Segun Mimiko, nothing underlines the seeming hopelessness of the about 24 aspirants seeking the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC for the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
Indeed the seeming disorder in the party was initially underlined by the high number of aspirants, about 60 who indicated interest in the governorship ticket of the party. That number eventually reduced to 25 at the deadline for the purchase of tickets. Not even that has mellowed the tension in the party as most of the aspirants have taken up arms against the alleged plot by the party hierarchy outside the state to supposedly impose one of the aspirants as the candidate of the party.
The angst of the aspirants was ventilated by Dr. Tunji Abayomi, one of the 25 recognised aspirants who accused party leader, Asiwaju BolaTinubu of trying to impose Segun Abraham as the candidate of the party.
The allegation which went on to the national media led to a face off with Tinubu who insisted he has a right to support anyone he wants for an elective office.
That right was last weekend reiterated by the national leadership of the party, which after a meeting with the 25 aspirants said any party figure with the exception of state officials could support anyone of the aspirants.
However, the beef of the aspirants is that the state chairman, Hon. Isaac Kekemeke has not been able to distinguish between himself and the aspiration of Abrahams, a development that has led to a crack in the state executive of the party.
Kekemeke is apparently on his own as virtually all other members of the state executive have come out to take a position against him leading to his suspension as state chairman.
Undoubtedly, Abraham’s capacity to make a good show in the race for the ticket without the apparent support of Asiwaju was not in doubt.
He was one of the aspirants in the 2012 contest that was won by Rotimi Akeredolu, and he seemed to have pulled back after Tinubu indicated his preference for Akeredolu who went on to win the ticket.
Following successive turns by Segun Agagu from the South and now Segun Mimiko, Central, the APC it seemed, had focused on the North where Abraham comes from to produce the next governor of the state.
Remarkably, two of the other major contenders Akeredolu and Senator Ajayi Boroffice are from the North, but party leaders are said to have overlooked them. Boroffice is in his second term in the Senate, and some say he should be satisfied with that, while Akeredolu who was the candidate in 2012 is believed not to have consolidated his hold on the party after the loss to Mimiko.
His return, this time, to again seek the ticket after four years has not endeared him to many.
Chief Olusola Oke who could easily have been the strongest threat to Abraham is seriously handicapped by the fact that he is new in the party having been a prominent official of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
However, even with the seeming support of the hierarchy, Abraham is confronted with the perception of being the representative of a strange god and will easily be tested by being asked to prove his independence of Tinubu.
With the PDP having produced the erudite Tayo Jegede as candidate, the prospect of the APC again losing the state because of internal squabble looks not unlikely, especially given that four years ago, the party did not have half as much crises as it is now grappling with.