By Akeem Abas
Ibadan – A former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, has directed his supporters to stay away from the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary billed for Sunday.
The directive was contained in a statement issued on Saturday in Ibadan by Jeremiah Akande, the Head of New Media and Public Affairs of Alao-Akala Campaign Organisation.
The statement, which described the scheduled primary as a sham, said the former governor would boycott the exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alao-Akala is a governorship aspirant in the state.
The statement quoted Alao-Akalaas calling on the national leadership of APC to save the Oyo Chapter from collapse.
“I am calling on the national leadership of APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of the party to come to the aid of Oyo APC which is on the brink of collapse.
“This is due to the high-handedness and imposition of candidates on delegates who will vote at the primary election of the party taking place tomorrow by Gov. Abiola Ajimobi,” the statement quoted Alao-Akala as saying.
Alao-Akala alleged that Ajimobi had perfected plans to impose an aspirant, Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe, on delegates.
He also alleged that the governor had sent his supporters to coerce and intimidate delegates to vote for Tegbe tomorrow at the party’s primary against their free will.
“I am a true party man and a committed loyalist of any cause I believe in. I wish to state categorically that I am not a push over in the game of politics.
“I am a well grounded and groomed politician who has occupied the number one seat of Oyo State, a politically- conscious state.
“I will not be part of any move or attempt to subvert the true will and wish of the people by the selfish interest of an individual,’’ he said.
Alao-Akala also alleged that Ajimobi had offered him the ministerial slot of the state in an attempt to pitch him against the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, an offer he said he rejected.
“I rejected the offer in its entirety as I am not one who can be tailored or shown the way round in the game of politics.
“I have therefore decided to stay away from Sunday’s macabre dance taking place at a yet to be disclosed venue,’’ he said.
He directed his supporters, well wishers and party faithful who believe in him to stay away and await further directives.
But Mr Bolaji Tunji, the Special Adviser to Ajimobi on Communications and Strategy, said it was surprising that such allegations could come from the highly respected former governor.
Tunji said that Alao-Akala was part of the several meetings the governor had with the aspirants where it was agreed that the aspirants should meet and present three of them.
“They, including Alao-Akala, agreed and signed that whoever emerged as the party’s candidate would be supported.
“ The allegations against the governor are very untrue,” he said.
Specifically, he described the allegations that Ajimobi had offered Alao-Akala a ministerial slot to pitch him against Shittu as untrue.
Tunji stated that Shittu had already taken permission from the president to contest the governorship seat in the state.