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Ondo 2024: Concerns rise as pre-election violence threatens APC primary



In preparation for the governorship election, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State is facing an increase in politically motivated violence and attacks among party aspirants, raising concerns ahead of the primary election.

Known for its relative peace, particularly in the Southwest region, Ondo State has witnessed a rise in tension as political campaigns kick off, marked by inciting rhetoric and instances of violence among key APC figures.

The APC primary, scheduled between April 6 and 27, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is expected to be fiercely contested among the party’s aspirants.

With incumbent Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa seeking re-election for a fresh four-year term, over 20 APC governorship aspirants have thrown their hats into the ring. These include Wale Akinteriwa, the immediate past Commissioner for Finance; Mayowa Akinfolarin, a former member of the House of Representatives; Olugbenga Edema, a former NDDC representative; and Olumide Ohunyeye, a former finance director at the Nigerian Defence Academy.


Others vying for the ticket are Jimoh Ibrahim, a business mogul and incumbent Senator representing Ondo South; Olusola Oke, a former governorship candidate; Isaac Kekemeke, APC National Vice Chairman (Southwest); and Ifeoluwa Oyedele, Executive Director at the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, among others.

Our correspondent reports that recent rivalries among the aspirants have led to inciting rhetoric and clashes. One such incident occurred last week during a visit by President Bola Tinubu to condole with the family of the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Owo. Supporters of leading aspirants engaged in physical and verbal attacks, pulling down billboards and campaign posters.

Allegations of harassment and violence have been levelled against Governor Aiyedatiwa by both Akinterinwa and Oke, with both accusing him of using members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and thugs to disrupt peace during Tinubu’s visit. They called on President Tinubu and the APC national chairman to intervene and stop the use of violence for political gains.

But Governor Aiyedatiwa, through his Chief Press Secretary, denied involvement in any violent activities, stating that his administration does not tolerate violence. He called for issue-based campaigns and ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute anyone engaging in violence.

As the political atmosphere heats up, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abayomi Oladipo, has warned all politicians to be wary of destructive elements among them ahead of their party primary.


Oladipupo asked the political gladiators to caution their supporters not to be part of any disruptive or destructive act that could lead to a breakdown of law and order.

He also asked parents and guardians to tell their children and wards not to serve as toxic agents and purveyors of false news capable of creating anarchy in the state.

“In the same vein, the good people of the state are urged to be wary of those who may want to use them as guinea pigs in the primary process, as the law will take its full course on anyone involved in political disturbance under whatever guise, using the current state of the nation as a fulcrum of destabilization.

“All political participants and supporters are urged to operate within the ambit of the law before, during, and after the primary process, while those who may have reservations should handle them within the confines of the law or be made to face the full wrath of the law,” he said.

Source link: Daily Trust/

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