As APC Screens Aspirants For Ondo 2024…Aiyedatiwa Confronts Petition To Disqualify Him

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As the primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) approaches, aspirants on the platform of the party are intensifying attacks against one another hoping they could discredit them at the screening stage of the party.
The integrity of certificates Governor Luck Aiyedatiwa, who some of them see as a threat to the actualisation of their dream of becoming the governor of the state at the forthcoming governorship election, has been a public issue.

Apart from Governor Aiyedatiwa, some of the aspirants are also ganging up against the immediate past commissioner for finance, Wale Akinterinwa, who they see as not being from the southern senatorial zone.

This is just as the business community in the state is alleging that business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim, will end up bankrupting Ondo as he has done with most of his companies, and are making efforts to remove him from the race.


For Aiyedatiwa, one of the governorship aspirants Gbenga Edema had few days ago pleaded with the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Ganduje, and the National Working Committee (NWC) to investigate the certificate forgery allegation levelled against the governor.

But Governor Aiyedatiwa declared yesterday that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, his West African Senior Certificate (WASCE) is genuine as well as verifiable.
An APC governorship aspirant, Gbenga Edema had written a petition to the party's leadership over the allegations that the WASCE Aiyedatiwa is using to contest the April 20 primary election is not from Ikosi High School as he claimed.

But addressing journalists after being screened at the APC national secretariat in Abuja on Friday, the Governor said he was cleared by the party, describing the issue raised about his certificate as mischief by other aspirants who noticed he was the one to beat.

LEADERSHIP Weekend reports that the APC had on Friday commenced the screening of the 16 governorship aspirants that obtained its N50 million worth expression of interest and nomination forms.
At the close of sales of the forms last week these aspirants obtained the forms: Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Funmilayo Mary Waheed Adekojo, Funke Omogoroye Folakemi Judith, Olusoji Adewale Ehinlanwo, Okunjimi Odimayo John, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim Folorunsho; the APC national vice chairman (Southwest) Duerimini Isaacs Kekemeke, and Garvey Oladiran Iyanjan.

Others include Akinfolarin Mayowa Samuel, Adewale Okumuyiwa Akinterinwa, Olugbenga Omogbemi Edema, Olusola Alexander Oke, SAN, Prof. Adedayo Faduyile, Retired Brigadier-General Felix Ohunyeye, former Ondo Commissioner for Finance Wale Akinterinwa and Ifeoluwa Olusola Oyedele.
After his screening, Aiyedatiwa explained that when Ikosi High School was established in 1980, he was already in Form 3 in a private school which was joined to the government school along with its students, hence he graduated there in 1982 and not 1985 as argued by his distractors.

“It is on record that the school was established in 1980 and at that time I was already in Form 3 in a private school, New Nation, in Ikosi while Royal Comprehensive High School was in Ajegunle, Ikorudu very close to Ketu.

“So all of us were moved, both New Nation and Royal Comprehensive High School and some other schools that were affected by flood – we were all moved into Ikosi High School, Ketu, that was built by the government and that was how we wrote our WASCE in 1982 because we were in the first set.

“I was in Form 3 at the time; it used to be five years – not now that you have six years for secondary school. So their question, the petitioner, is how can a school be established in 1980 and we have a first set in 1982? That the first set was supposed to be in 1985, but he didn't take time to look at the history.

“So investigation has been conducted, the schools are still there, WAEC office is there where you can actually verify the subjects that I took and the year that I graduated and the school. It is clear to every body that my certificate is authentic and I actually graduated from that school in 1982,” he explained.
Speaking further, Aiyedatiwa declared that there was no vacancy in the Ondo State Government House as he remains the aspirant to beat.

He went on: “I should just advise them to repent and try to go to the field and work. If they are interested in the seat and the seat is not vacant, that is why they're trying to do all that they are doing.”
Meanwhile, addressing journalists after his screening, Edema insisted that he did not write a petition against the the governor but sent an advisory to the party to avert impending danger should he emerge the party's candidate.

“I did not write a petition against Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa. I wrote an advisory to the leadership of APC, about the possible outcome of fielding somebody who has a challenged certificate.
“So I have done my own as a watchman; let the party take its own position. It's not everything that is about contest; the party will intervene and I'm bound by the decision of the party. So when the party intends to intervene, it should be guided,” he said.

Another governorship aspirant and the senator representing Ondo South, Jimoh Ibrahim, described Governor Aiyedatiwa as joker for declaring that there was no vacancy in Ondo Government House.
Ibrahim, who spoke with journalists after his screening at the APC national secretariat, said the governor had never won an election, noting that he had contested for the House of Representatives but did not win one local government out of two.

He said: “The governor is joking; a huge joke he is cracking with you. He is out of that place by the time we finish primary next wee. He is gone and there is nothing virtually he can do about it.
“I don't normally go against people; to me let everybody go for primary, and let the electorate determine. I have won election as senator; I won in six of the six local government areas, 65 of the 66 wards, 111,677 votes against Agboola Ajayi with 60,000 votes.

“This governor has never won an election; he contested for the House of Representatives, he didn't win one local government. Just two local governments and he could even win one. He was a pair to Aketi, we didn't vote for him, we voted for Aketi, but I can assure you, the governor is a huge joker.”
Speaking in the same vein after being screened, another governorship contender, Olusola Oke, said Aiyedatiwa's comments were undemocratic and reckless.

“It's an aphorism from all incumbent persons. I heard this one in Lagos when Ambode was there. Ambode said “no vacancy”, he had to leave when he needed to leave. It's a statement of wish and desire by the governor and it's a statement that is intended to undermine a democratic exercise.
“If we are going to primaries and the people will have to determine, how would anybody have the gut to say there is no vacancy? There is no vacancy between now and February next year, no doubt, but after February, his one year term will be exhausted and then there'll be a vacancy.

“I don't intend to take over from him before the expiration of his one year in office. So, the essence of this exercise is that there will be vacancy after one-year term, and that he or somebody else will occupy the seat. Having regard to my wide contact with the people, I believe that I'm succeeding him,” Oke said.
On Akinterinwa, speaking on the insinuation that Ile-Oluji does not belong to the Southern senatorial district, the Aro of Ile-Oluji kingdom, Chief Sola Akinfemi said, “That is not true; the structures of the state are there, so, why are we going by insinuations? So, I don't want us to give an ear to what is very unimportant. We are part and parcel of the South and we have always been part of the South of the state.

“Like I said, Akinterinwa has been in government for so long. He has been in government as finance commissioner for eight years. He worked with two governors and he's been doing all of the developmental things that this state has benefited from. Go and look at the record of where the IGR has moved from.

“So, really we are looking for someone who is well tested, somebody who is interested in the job, somebody who is fighting to be governor and who has an idea of the economy of the state; someone who will cater for the welfare of the people, someone who values education.
“What we are doing here today is not even political; we have a group that is called Ile-Oluji Assembly and it's all about economic development, socio-economic engineering and he's a full member.'
For Senator Jimoh ibrahim, the business community in the state has disagreed sharply on whether he should contest the governorship seat in the state.

While the business community led by Prince Adekunle Adeya said the billionaire businessman would run the state aground like most of his businesses if elected, Ibrahim however said all his businesses were doing well contrary to insinuations in some quarters.
Adeya, the proprietor of Bolakomo Ventures, said the senator, who represents Ondo South senatorial district, has no business contesting the governorship seat of the state.
Speaking with reporters in Akure, the state capital, Adeya drew the attention of journalists to the height of incompetence displayed by Ibrahim over the years in many of his business endeavours.

He said, “A closer look at his Global Fleet Filling Stations across the country is an eye-sore, as more than 97 percent of the stations have been taken over by weeds while some are now being occupied by goats, sheep, and even some dangerous reptiles.

“The NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja, which used to be on top of the list for both foreign and local visitors to the Federal Capital Territory when it was Le Meridien Abuja, got into the hands of Jimoh Ibrahim and the story changed. A visit to the magnificent edifice now for those who care to know, it operates in the shadows of itself.

“It is appalling to know that this same Jimoh Ibrahim ran aground the prestigious Owena Motels, Akure, built by the late sage and patriotic former governor of the state, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin of blessed memory, when he took over the management of the hotel at the twilight of the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu administration in the state.

“What about Air Nigeria and even the institution he built in his hometown? They are nothing to write home about. As for Air Nigeria, that the company was dead on arrival.”
Adeya said most business-minded people, and civil servants among others are not in support of a man who has a penchant for not paying workers' salaries and who cannot sustain a business.
Adeya advised Ibrahim to throw in the towel now and allow someone with genuine vision to govern the state, saying it would be an error to commit the fate of over five million people into the hands of a man who could not manage his businesses.

But the director of media and publicity of Jimoh Ibrahim Campaign Organisation, Prince Banji Okunomo, in his reply said if the businesses and enterprises owned by the federal government of Nigeria could go under, there is nothing wrong if the business of an individual goes under.
He said, “Until recently, Nigeria was broke, and the country kept borrowing until the removal of subsidy. Even with the removal, of subsidies, we are still encountering a lot of problems in this country because those infrastructure that ought to be in place before the removal of subsidies were not in place.

“In the ranking of wealthy Nigerians, is Jimoh Ibrahim not among the first 10 richest Nigerians? Are they saying that he is not flourishing in his life? So why are they concerned about his businesses not being in existence? There is no crime in migrating from one business to another. But the question to ask is, is the man not doing well now economically?

“Jimoh Ibrahim and his businesses are doing well. He is financially healthy, and he is the candidate to beat in this election. He is a good manager of people, very brilliant and resourceful, and highly qualified. He has done well in the private as well as public sectors and also at the international level. He is giving us the best in this country today. Nigeria, as a country, is proud to have Jimoh Ibrahim.”

However, with the ongoing hide-and-seek game going on in the ruling party in the state, the outcome of the screening committee of the party at the national level will determine who participate in the forthcoming primary.

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