By Idowu Gabriel
Aggrieved members of the APC in Ekiti State on Saturday protested at the party’s Secretariat in Ado-Ekiti, over alleged plot to impose the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Hakeem Jamiu, for a second term.
The APC members, who were from Irepodun/Ifelodun State Constituency II, accused the State Working Committee, led by Mr Paul Omotoso, of working with some people in government to force Jamiu on them.
Jamiu, who is from Igbemo-Ekiti , is a serving lawmaker in the Assembly, representing Irepodun/Ifelodun constituency II.
The spokesperson of the protesters from Jamiu’s constituency and former Chairman, Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area, Mr Kayode Ojo, said any imposition would amount to flouting the entrenched rotation policy in the constituency.
“The purpose of this protest is to let our party APC, know that it can not afford to impose someone who is widely deemed unpopular on all of us, unless we want to loose to opposition.
“Again, we have unwritten policy among Igbemo-Ekiti, Iworoko-Ekiti, Are-Ekiti, Afao/Araromi Obo wards that we should rotate this assembly seat, and that we have been doing faithfully.
“We do not know the motive behind attempt to impose the lawmaker at all cost.
“We are also saying why Igbemo-Ekiti again that had occupied the seat six times when other wards have not occupied it for once?
“Our party should go and gauge the mood of the people in that constituency,” Ojo said.
He, however, clarified that their move was not hatred against anybody, but a sincere concern for the party.
The protesters’ spokesperson said if it was going to be Igbemo-Ekiti at all cost, the party should not impose. They should allow free and fair primary.
“This is our humble demand.”
Reacting to the allegation, the APC State Publicity Secretary, Mr Segun Dipe, said the party was not considering such plan, describing it as a baseless and unfounded accusation.
Dipe, however, said the party and those opposing the candidature of Jamiu had no right to stop the deputy speaker from re-contesting, saying “that is the lawmaker’s constitutional right”.
“We are not going to impose anybody. We are not planning to impose. The party will conduct free and fair primary, but we will not stop Hakeem Jamiu from seeking a second term, it is his right.
“Again, among all the towns in that constituency, Igbemo-Ekiti is the most steadfast and consistent with the progressive party.
“So, if the party says we should allow the seat to remain in the town, it has a cogent reason for that.
“We are running a disciplined party and these protesters should allow peace and concentrate their energies on how we can win, because we are not planning any imposition,” Dipe said.
The APC had been faced with crisis in the last two weeks over alleged plot to impose some serving lawmakers seeking re-election.
There was a similar protest by some leaders in Ido/Osi constituencies I and II against alleged plots to also impose some aspirants in the area.
Some notable members of the party in Ekiti West Constituency 1, including former APC State Chairman, Chief Jide Awe, narrowly escaped attack at Erinjiyan-Ekiti, after affirming re-election of the present occupant of the seat, Mr Tajudeen Akingbolu.(NAN)