Abayomi Adesanya, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, said he rejected N100 million to work against the victory of Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu during the party’s governorship primary on Sept. 3, 2016.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Akeredolu’s nomination at the party primary was rejected by some members of the the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and notable leaders of the party within and outside Ondo State.
The submission of his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate in the Nov. 26, 2016 governorship election led to the call for the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, by some party leaders.
Adesanya said: “You will recall that APC was riddled with crisis in the buildup and after the governorship primary in Ondo State."
“Four days after the governorship primary, I had a brief discussion with two men who claimed to have come from the ‘National’ at the party secretariat in Akure."
“Their demand was simple: withdraw your support for Akeredolu and call for the nullification of the Sept. 3, 2016 governorship primary of the party won by Akeredolu by issuing a press statement as the state publicity secretary condemning the conduct of the election."
“They went as far as saying that Akeredolu was not in the equation and there was no way he could fly the party’s flag since the owners of the party were not comfortable with him as the governorship candidate,’’ he said.
The APC spokesman said thereafter, he started receiving strange telephone calls from some leaders outside and within Ondo State on the need for the party in the state to mobilise the media to tag the election as a “fraud’’ and to call for another primary.
“Thereafter, one of the men who met me at the party secretariat, called around mid night, claiming he was directed by one of the leaders (name witheld) based outside Ondo State, to get my bank account details."
“Three days after, the same men arranged for a meeting at a popular hotel in Akure where they offered me N50 million after about an hour meeting."
“These men increased the offer to N70 million and then N100 million, claiming that I should issue press statements in support of the position of the appeal panel constituted by the party to look into the conduct of the primary."
“At that point, I knew trouble was brewing, I politely asked for the adjournment of the meeting which they both agreed and drove off in a wine Range Rover Sport,’’ he said.
Adesanya said that the men arranged for another meeting on the third day after series of conversations via telephone at a different hotels where they offered to pay him N50 million cash instantly and pay the balance later.
He said that after some few minutes of the chat, one of them who is usually addressed as Alhaji, said: “P.R.O, we are ready to give you N50 million cash right now and thereafter pay you the balance of N50 million either by cash or into your bank account.”
“Just before I could say Jack-Robbinson, the second man offered to show me something inside their car. On getting there, he unzipped one out of about five or six bags in their car boot, surprisingly it was filled with bundles of N1,000 notes."
“We went back to our seats to continue our discussion and I politely informed them that it was too late for me to be in possession of such huge sum of money and suggested we should meet at the same venue very early the following day."
“After that meeting, I ran for cover. I refused to sleep at home until Akeredolu’s name was finally submitted to INEC by the party,” he said.
Adesanya commended the national chairman of the party for standing by the truth on the Ondo State Governorship Primary “even in the face of inducement, threat and intimidation by some party leaders.”
Adesanya alleged the same treatment was melted on him as the spokesman of the party in Ondo State by some party leaders outside the state with the intention of using him to propagate falsehood to discredit the result of the governorship primary of the party.
“Severally, I was threatened by some notable leaders and some unknown persons insisting that I should stop defending the primary or face the consequences."
“Certainly, the three armed men that came to my house in Akure in the early hours of Nov. 9, 2016 may not be unconnected with this issue,’’ he said.