By Dipo Awojobi – The All Progressives Congress (APC) has assured aspirants seeking to contest the Ondo State gubernatorial election on the party platform of no preferential treatment.
The APC Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said this on Saturday in Abuja during a meeting to settle all disputes and allay the fears of the aspirants.
The gubernatorial aspirants had accused the party chairman in the state, Chief Isaac Kekemeke, of adopting, endorsing an aspirant and tampering with the delegates’ list.
The party members in the state promptly suspended Kekemeke.
Assuring the aspirants of fair play, Odigie-Oyegun paid tribute to all the aspirants for promptly responding to the call for the peace meeting.
”It indicates quite clearly your commitment that Ondo state returns to the fold of progressive party.
”We have had extensive, frank discussions and have reached some very basic and fundamental understanding that will guide the process in Ondo primary.
”We have accepted that there is nothing wrong for any member to endorse any of the aspirants.
”We have also accepted unanimously that there will be no attempt to impose any aspirant on any party member or the electorate.
”The party at national level has no preferred aspirant and is not going to endorse any aspirant.
”They are all equally members of the party who have entrusted us with the management of the affairs and with that sacred trust it is our responsibility to be as impartial as is humanly possible.
”By the same token, the state branch of the party must not also be seen to be attempting to impose any aspirant and cannot endorse an aspirant.
”This is because they have the sacred trust to be even handed to all the aspirants because we are blazing a new trail of internal democracy.
”To make it clear, the party has no preferred candidate either at national or at state level.”
Odigie-Oyegun said that the party would make available a ”clean copy of the delegates list” to all aspirants by August 24 and assured that it was in safe custody.
”I am particularly happy with the commitment of all the aspirants that once a free, fair primary can be assured, they will rally round whoever is chosen by the delegates as the candidate of the party,” he said.
Twenty-four aspirants were at the party secretariat for the peace meeting.