A governorship aspirant on the platform of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Chief Dele Adigun, has that the party has not followed the laid down guideline for the conduct of primaries.
OYO INSIGHT had reported how Adigun and 11 other gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the party went to court to challenge the selection of Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin as the party’s candidate.
According to Adigun, who is former secretary to the state government under the administration of former governor Rashidi Ladoja, “the party leadership did not show any regard for the party constitution. There are three options: one, direct primary; two, indirect primary; and three, consensus by all the aspirants.”
“In this case, only four people sat down in the confines of their sitting room and decided that they want to pick a candidate without carrying the aspirants along. In this case, the entire aspirants must be carried along in the consensus process. How can the people who are themselves ordinary members just handpick a candidate without consulting the others? We had gone through written test and conducted interview. It is because the result of the test/written interview did not favour their aspirant and that was the reason they decided not to publish the result of the exercise. Now, we are asking them to publish the result. We, the aspirants, must know how we performed. Instead, they went ahead to handpick a candidate which is against the constitution and the guideline given by the party.
In an interview with Sunday Tribune, Adigun said that party has been hijacked Ladoja. “At all levels, apart from those who got automatic tickets for certain positions, Ladoja and his men were handpicking candidates, even apart from the governorship. And this has affected the whole party. About two months ago, Ladoja came into the party. He has a track-record with political parties.
“Between 2003 and 2010, was in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); he went on to be the sole leader of the Accord Party. He returned to PDP again but he was kicked out of the place. He came to ADC barely two months ago and started manifesting his tendency.
“It is no longer a big family. It has been fragmented by Ladoja. Most people are disillusioned; they don’t know the yardstick or criteria used in selecting their representatives. For us in the governorship race too, we are aspirants and we should be carried along.
“If you obtained the form and participated in the screening exercise, you should know the criteria used to knock you out. If there were no primaries and no direct primaries, what were the parameters used? What are the things that the person that emerged got that all the others don’t have? How can four people just sit down in their sitting room and pontificate over the affair of the entire party? They are ordinary members like all of us too. There is no provision for that in the constitution.
What have the aspirants resolved to do?
We are already in court; we want the court to interpret what happened for us. The court should tell us whether the system that they used is legal or illegal.”
Threatening that there cannot be peace without justice, adding that “If you are looking for peace, then there must be justice. Don’t trample upon the right of an individual just because you are an ex-governor. We are founding members of ADC, but he came in barely two months ago and he is destabilising the party. This party is not Accord Party where he was the sole leader. We must let internal democracy prevail. You just don’t sit down with two people and say you have decided the fate of others. Let them bring out the results of the exams we did and tell us why they are not using the results to nominate a candidate.”
Asked if he was mindful of the fact that the tussle could lead to the disintegration of the party, he explained that “Are you saying if I know that I have been short-changed or my right had been trampled upon, I should keep quiet? No, that is not the type of Nigeria that we want.
“I don’t know the kind of negotiation you are talking about. We just want the proper thing to be done. Without the important thing being done, I am afraid we are not moving forward.
“The nomination of Lanlehin is a nullity. The man behind the nomination is Ladoja. We are fighting all of them; we are fighting Ladoja and the product of his illegality. That is why we have gone to court for an interpretation. I will advise Lanlehin not to waste his money and let the court adjudicate on the matter before he proceeds. But I know it is an illegal nomination that he is being bandied all over the place as the ADC governorship candidate.
“He was not properly nominated. Don’t forget that we were 13; the remaining 12 of us are against his nomination because we were not carried along. Or how do you just lock yourselves up in a place and try to do all sorts of abracadabra? Before he came to the party, the news all over the place was that he wanted to bring Lanlehin to become governor. I heard from the grapevine that he came eighth in the test. What happened to the persons that came first, second and up to number seven? How can you pick someone from the back and impose him on all of us?
“Imposition is what we reject in the party. We reject it in all its ramifications. As for the anticipation of mass defection from the party, I am not God. All I know is that without justice in the party, there would not be peace.”
Adigun, however, said he won’t defect to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. “Where am I defecting to? Have you ever seen me in their midst? That is speculation. We must get to the end of this matter. The case is in court; how do you abandon that case in court? We have to pursue it to a logical end before we decide on the next line of action. All of us who bought the form are over 50 years. Some of us are grandfathers. How can some people just sit down somewhere and pontificate over the governorship affair without having any input from us? It is never done. They have not invited us since the decision was taken. The chairman of the party in the state was not carried along, even the state executives were not carried along. You want me to come and work for that candidate? No. If we did primaries for him to have emerged, it would probably mean that he had more delegates than I had. But consensus means agreement by all and sundry: it is an agreement by all the aspirants, party executives and others. That means that we must all sit down but that did not happen.