by Stanley Azuakola
Once again, the tradition of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in shunning democratic primaries in favour of hand-picking candidates is causing ripples within the party. In Ondo State, the party recently selected the former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Rotimi Akeredolu, as its governorship candidate for the October 20 polls. This decision has not been well received by some party faithful, especially aspirants who did not get the nod of the party hierarchy.
Twelve of such aspirants from the Ondo North Senatorial District met in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Saturday. In that meeting, they rejected the choice of Rotimi Akeredolu as party flag bearer. Their displeasure stemmed from the fact that the choice of Akeredolu was done without the input of any stakeholder within the state.
The aspirants said that all democratic norms were discarded in the process, hence the choice of Akeredolu would be rejected by the people of the state.
Consequently, they addressed a letter to the party secretariat, in which they called on the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande to set in motion the process of electing a credible candidate that could win the October 20 election for the party in the state.
However, the aspirants also said in the letter which was signed by all of them that they would neither leave the party nor support “any kangaroo election to legitimise the illegality” of Akeredolu’s choice.
It’s not only the aspirants that are condemning the emergence of Akeredolu; even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is doing same. In a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the party said “The Action Congress of Nigeria has once more demonstrated it’s inability to imbibe basic democratic practices. This is a party that consistently preaches strict adherence to the tenets of democracy, yet is engaging in acts that deepen the culture of electoral impunity.”
Metuh said that the preference of the Action Congress for a clique tyranny was a shame and that even though the party bows to pressure and conducts a proper primary, it would still be an exercise in futility because party leaders are already fixated on Akeredolu.