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Ondo Election: APC Leaders, Aspirants Reject Tinubu’s Candidate

Aggrieved All Progressives Congress leaders and governorship aspirants in Ondo State have rejected Mr. Segun Abraham as the anointed candidate of the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
They asked Tinubu to allow the APC governorship primary scheduled for August 27 to hold as planned and let the popular candidate emerge through a democratic process. The aspirants said the plan by Tinubu to sponsor and endorse Abraham for the purpose of imposing him on them would derail the seamless and democratic process aimed at selecting the party’s candidate by delegates.
No fewer than 23 aspirants, including Abraham, have collected governorship nomination forms for the primary.
A recent report had claimed that Tinubu planned to impose Abraham on other aspirants and that he summoned all the APC leaders in Ondo State to a meeting in Lagos and asked them to support his candidate.
Tinubu was reported to have also promised to spend huge sum of money to offer financial support to ensure Abraham’s victory in the November governorship election.
But the APC Publicity Secretary in Ondo State, Mr. Steve Otaloro, denied that they were invited to Lagos by Tinubu to endorse Abraham.
All attempts to reach Abraham were unsuccessful as he neither answered calls to his telephone line nor responded to the text message sent to him.
Also efforts to reach Tinubu’s media aide, Mr. Sunday Dare on Thursday were unsuccessful as his mobile telephone line was not reachable. On Friday evening when his telephone rang, he neither answered calls to the line nor responded to a text message sent to it.
 One of Tinubu’s close associates, who spoke to one of our correspondents, denied that the party leader was attempting to impose a candidate on the party.
 “I’m telling you that it’s not true; everybody is using Asiwaju’s name, which is natural,” he said.
But the aspirants dismissed the denial, saying they were aware some party leaders met with Tinubu in Lagos over the matter.
The aspirants said Abraham should be allowed to contest in the primary alongside others if he is popular.
In separate interviews with our correspondents on Thursday, some of the aspirants said their presence at the APC national headquarters in Abuja for screening meant a rejection of endorsement of a particular candidate over the others.
They added that delegates should be allowed to elect the candidate of their choice.
An aspirant, who sounded angry and begged one of our correspondents not to mention his name, said he was aware of the meeting in Lagos.
He, however, said he was not interested in listening to any news of the endorsement. He said, “I am in Abuja right now for screening and beyond that, I assume the report on the endorsement should be taken as rumour; that is what it should be.
“I am still in the governorship race and I am looking forward to a free and fair primary. You can talk to other aspirants; they will tell you the same thing. “I am doing my campaign and I am reaching out to the people. I don’t want to be part of the discussion on the subject matter.”

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