Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Southwest geo-political zone have expressed worries over the large number of aspirants vying for the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti state on its platform.
The leaders, however, said the large number of aspirants would not make them force any aspirant to step down from the race.
The National Vice Chairman (Southwest) of the party, Chief PiusAkinyelure, who addressed journalists after a stakeholders’ meeting in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday said the APC would engage the aspirants in a constructive engagement before the May 5 primary to persuade some of them to step down to ensure stability.
He explained that 30 aspirants had procured the expression ofinterest and nomination forms at the APC’s Secretariat in Abuja.
But former Governor Segun Oni, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Opeyemi Bamidele, Bimbo Daramola, Bamidele Faparusi, Dr Mojisola Yaya Kolade, Femi Bamisile, Sunday Adebomi, Bayo Orire and other aspirants were at the meeting. But the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was conspicuously absent.
Akinyelure assured that the party would conduct free, fair and transparent primary and dispelled alleged plan of a governor in to import fictitious delegate names.
He said “Through our deliberations, we realized that what we have now is a crowd of about 30 aspirants on our platform. This you will agree with me is unacceptable as this could affect our chances of effecting needed change in the governance of your dear state.
“We are however conscious of the fact that every member has the right to aspire to the exalted seat of the governor of the state provided they meet the required qualifications listed for the position.
“Between now and the date of election, just go and visit the delegates and canvass for votes in the most civil and legal way .
“However, we are not particularly pleased with the reported cases of character assassination, abuses and destructive language being traded by some of the aspirants against each other. This had become very prevalent in the social media. This is not acceptable at all”, he said.
Akinyelure said all the aspirants will be availed of the delegates’ list in due course, which they can use to authenticate the ones that will be used for the conduct of the primary.
“We have met and we have agreed that the state executive shoulddevelop a paper for all aspirants which they will sign to show thatthey will be ready to support whoever emerges.
“To maintain fairness, we have asked the aspirants to draw out aformat of how the primary should be, which I know will be free, fairand credible”.
On the possibility of asking some aspirants to step down before theprimary, Akinyelure added: “We are coming up with a screeningcommittee which will begin work on April 24. We will do everything to persuade them to bring down the numbers.