Despite the emergence of Dr. Nureni Adeniran as winner of a consensus election conducted by the 13 governorship aspirants of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Oyo state on Tuesday, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party on Wednesday declared that Senator Olufemi Lanlehin remains the party’s governorship candidate in the 2019 election.
ADC National Chairman, Chief Ralphs Nwosu, who addressed journalists in Abuja after a meeting of the party’s NWC, stated that Lanlehin was the candidate of the party.
He also explained why Adeniran can not fly the party’s flag in spite of the outcome of Tuesday’s consensus election.
His words: “In line with our earlier statement on the issue of ADC’s gubernatorial candidate in Oyo State, the National Working Committee wishes to announce that Senator Olufemi Lanlehin remains the gubernatorial candidate of ADC in Oyo State. We have had to revisit the issue to ensure that we accommodate all concerns from various quarters. We have had meetings with all the stakeholders of our dear party, including aspirants at all levels of elective positions.
“This was meant to ensure that the choice of Senator Lanlehin satisfied the aspirations of all party leaders, members and stakeholders of our great party, including a broad spectrum of the good people of Oyo State. Following the deliberations and consultations, the party’s decision on Senator Lanlehin has been ascertained to be the best for ADC and especially the good people of Oyo State. All the polls taken so far have pointed to the fact that Lanlehin is the Oyo State Governor in waiting.”
He added, “However, in view of the controversy generated by 12 governorship aspirants of the party in Oyo State, and their request to make an input in choosing a consensus candidate, we gave them the chance to make a recommendation and they recommended Dr. Nureni Adeniran, who the Screening and Primary Committee had screened out because of his failure to meet financial obligations (Expression of Interest and nomination form), lack of constituency support and inability to prove adequate financial capacity to fund the governorship campaign/election. This calls into question the motive behind the agitation of the 12 aspirants.”
Adeniran is a former Commissioner for Education in the state.
It would be recalled that on Monday, the NWC took a definite decision to settle the lingering crisis over who flies the party’s flag in the 2019 governorship election in the state. Lanlehin’s initial choice had threatened to tear the party apart with court cases, in-fighting and looming defections.
The aspirants had accused the state party leaders which include former governor Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Michael Koleoso of injustice and imposition.
The 12 aggrieved aspirants had earlier approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking the nullification of Lanlehin’s candidature as illegal arguing that his emergence was unknown to the party’s constitution.
The party, in a bid to settle the crisis, asked the 13 aspirants to conduct a consensus by election among themselves to present a candidate of their choice before Wednesday.
A source however told Newspeakonline that the NWC of the party had warned the aspirants that their decision and choice of candidate may not be binding if the disagreements lingered. The implication of that warning is that Lanlehin’s candidacy was still active. The latest decision confirms that.
With fears that the crisis may worsen as a result of the insistence on Lanlehin, Nwosu warned aggrieved members against actions that would destabilize the party in the state.
He said: “We will not condone acts intended to destabilize the impressive progress already made by ADC in Oyo State. Every member of the party has been assured that their yearning for a candidate of the people has been satisfied in the choice of Olufemi Lanlehin. We urge everyone, particularly the media, to disregard further press statements, not issued by the National Working Committee on the issue of a governorship candidate for ADC in Oyo State.”