Thousands of members of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Ondo State on Thursday took to the street of Ore, the headquarters of the Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, to protest against the alleged imposition of Senator Yele Omogunwa as the candidate of the party in the Ondo Senatorial District.
Senator Omogunwa, who is currently representing the Ondo South Senatorial District at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, was alleged to have been imposed on the members of the party in the district by the National Working Committee of the APC. The senator was given an automatic ticket to be the candidate of the party in the 2019 senatorial election.
Omogunwa was elected into the Senate in 2015 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party but he later joined the APC in 2016 shortly before the governorship election in the state.
The protesters, who were from the six local government areas of the district, converged on the party secretariat in Ore with different placards with inscriptions, saying the party would lose in the senatorial district if Omogunwa remained the candidate.
The placards had inscriptions such as “Ondo South Rejects Yele Omogunwa”, “Ondo South says No to imposition”, “Ondo South APC says No to Yele Omogunwa”, “Omogunwa is a liability, no more second term”, and “We demand a replacement for Omogunwa”, among others.
The leader of the protesters and an APC leader in the district, Mr Olatunbosun James, said members of the party were concerned with the victory at the poll in 2019, adding that the party would suffer defeat if Senator Omogunwa was fielded as the party’s candidate.
James also noted that the rejection of Omogunwa’s candidature would affect the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2019 presidential election in the senatorial district.
He alleged that the senator had failed the people of the senatorial district, adding that he was a dormant representative of the district in the Senate.
He said, “The fact is incontrovertible that our senatorial district is suffering from misrepresentation at present in the red chamber. Yele Omogunwa, the man positioned to represent us, is nothing but a political misfit. Under his watch, our district suffered untold and unbearable hardship including the extant infamous electricity blackout ravaging the land.
“Senator Omogunwa is identified with incompetence and his candidature becomes unsellable because we deserve better representation in Ondo South which lay the golden egg for the state and the country. Yele has become analogue and the best thing to do for President Buhari and the party to win in 2019 is to replace him with a more competent fellow before it will be too late.
“We reject his candidature; we don’t want him because he has failed us in the last three and half years. He has no capacity to win the Senate election for APC and that will affect the president on the day of the election.”
James also called on the National Working Committee and the National Chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole and other party leaders to replace Omogunwa for a better and more competent candidate in the interest of the party and the senatorial district.
However, the embattled Senator Omogunwa, in a statement, said the protest was sponsored by some aggrieved aspirants of the party.
“As far as I am concerned, the sponsored protest coming amid my concerted effort to reconcile all cleavages within the party in the district is highly regrettable and unconscionably misdirected and mischievous in all ramifications,” he stated.