All Progressives Congress APC national leadership has waded into the crisis rocking the Ondo State chapter of the party over who is the authentic state chairman of the party in the state, Tribune has reported.
The delegation which has the party's former National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi as its chairman met with Hon. D.I. Kekemeke who has been removed as the party's chairman in the state, the acting chairman, Mr. Ade Adetimehin, the APC Elders' Committee led by Sen. Olorunnimbe Farukanmi and the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Other members of the delegation from the party headquarters are National Financial Secretary, Tajudeen Bello; Ekiti state APC chairman, Chief Jide Awe and the Administrative Secretary of the party in the Southwest, Mr. Ayo Afolabi.
It will be recalled that the APC in the state had been in crisis since preparations started for the governorship primaries of the party which was held September 3, 2016.
Some members of the party had on Tuesday, August 16, 2016, locked the party's secretariat along Oyemekun road in Akure over alleged imposition of a candidate for the governorship primaries.
According to them, Kekemeke had doctored the delegates' list and was also working against the interest of the party.
Mr. Tolu Babaleye who spoke to the press on behalf the aggrieved members alleged that Kekemeke was using the party's machinery apparatus to impose candidates on the members.
The crisis degenerated into a physical fight two days later as anti and pro-Kekemeke party members engaged in a brawl at the party's secretariat.
The crisis caused a clash between the loyalists of the party's state chairman, Mr. Isaac Kekemeke and the supporters of Mr. Saka Yusuf (now Commissioner for Youth and Sports in the state) who had forcefully taken over the party's secretariat in Akure.
Mr. Yusuf had accused Kekemeke of anti-party activities and the manipulation of delegates' list for the primary election to suit his preferred candidate, Mr. Bode Ayorinde, an aspirant of the party.
Other members of the state executive thereafter suspended Kekemeke as the chairman of the party in the state August 20, 2016.
The publicity secretary of the party, Omoba Abayomi Adesanya announced his suspension while reading a removal letter signed by 2/3 majority of the state executives to Journalists in Akure.
Adesanya read: "That Kekemeke at the party's executive meeting, held on August 12, 2016 at the party's secretariat, Akure at about 11.25 a.m did inform and brief the members of the state executive, that he had been directed, mandated and financially empowered and or fortified by the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to work for a particular aspirant, one Olusegun Abraham as the preferred sole aspirant of the party from the national in the forthcoming governorship primaries in the state."
The party then set up a three-man disciplinary committee which included Prince Solagbade Amodeni (now commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development), Hon. Jayeoba Oluwatuyi and Barr. Akin Ogunsakin to investigate the allegations raised against the chairman and submit their report to the state executive committee within seven days of their inauguration.
This crisis was continued made the party shift its primary election from August 27, 2016, to August 31 and later to September 3.
With the primary election which produced Akeredolu as governor held, all seemed to be in the past, as the party's candidate was seen paying a visit Kekemeke in his home in Akure.
"For me, the lives of the people of Ondo State must transcend above party issues," Akeredolu said during the visit.
In his own response, Kekemeke made it clear that he harbors no plans to leave the party as he has no other party to go to.
He also assured party members of his desire to do everything within his power to mend fences at the national level.
With the perceived peace meeting, all seemed well within the party on the surface all through preparations for the October 3, 2016 governorship election in the state.
The crisis, however, came to the public fore again when the state working committee of the party announced the suspension of Kekemeke on June 1, 2017.
"The State Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, on this day, June 1st, 2017, unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on the State Chairman, Hon. Isaacs Kekemeke, for failing to discharge his responsibilities, neglect and dereliction of duty, among other offenses, in compliance with ARTICLE 21(D)(vi), of the Constitution of the APC,(October 2014 as amended)," the party's Publicity Secretary in the state said in a statement he released.
The party also set up a 3-man fact-finding disciplinary committee led by Abayomi, with Yusuf-Ogunleye and Rasheed Badmus (now Commissioner for Natural Resources) to investigate the former Chairman.
The committee after its sitting which Kekemeke did not attend removed him as chairman, a move Kekemeke waved aside, maintaining that only the National Executive Committee of the party, the Zonal or National executive of the party can remove him from office.
During a meeting with the National delegates, the faction loyal to Kekemeke, accused the Akeredolu's group of trying to hijack the party for selfish reasons.
The Ondo Central Senatorial Chairman, Mr. Gboyega Adedipe said the crisis started with the statement credited to Governor Akeredolu during the handover ceremony where he said only two persons; the outgoing governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Kekemeke that have experience in governance having served in all capacities in the state.
Another reason for the dispute Adedipe said was the appointment of functionaries of the government saying Team Aketi did not want to allow the party to determine appointees of the government.
Adedipe said it was the people who were intimidated by the profile of Kekemeke that caused the dispute between the party chairman and the governor. He said the people accused the party chairman of working for the Alliance for Democracy (AD) governorship candidate, Chief Olusola Oke during the last governorship election.
On the allegation that Kekemeke did not attend state functions, Adedipe said the party executive was present when Akeredolu collected his Certificate of Return from Independent National Electoral Commission, during the handover ceremony and during the inauguration ceremony.
He added that the crisis rocking the party would be resolved once the governor finished with appointment into offices.