Update on Ekiti APC primary crisis: 22 aspirants petition Buhari, Tinubu over allegation of bias against NWC
The fallout of the of Saturday, May 5, 2018, inconclusive primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State to elect the party’s candidate for the July 14governorship election led to a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and APC National Chairman, Chief john Odigie-Oyegun, by 22 aspirants in the race,
The 22 aspirants after a meeting at the Midas Hotel, Ado Ekiti, on Sunday resolved to send a petition on the President and other party leaders, in which they alleged that some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) in the organising committee that conducted the primary election were biased and contributed to the violence that disrupted the process.
The aspirants said the primary election was laden with “electoral manipulation and corruption.”
The aspirants who signed the petition include Segun Oni, former Ekiti Governor; Babafemi Ojudu, Presidential Adviser on Political Matters; former Ekiti Assembly Speaker, Femi Bamisile; former senators Gbenga Aluko and Ayo Arise, Kayode Ojo.
Others include Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Wole Oluyede, Bayo Oriire, Kayode Ojo, Sunday Adebomi, Diran Adesua, Bodunde Adeyanju, Bimbo Daramola, Bamidele Faparusi, Sesan Fatoba, Bisi Aloba, Ajayi Olatunji Olowo, Wole Oluleye, Debo Ranti Ajayi, Kolawole Alabi, Olumuyiwa Olumilua and Victor Kolade.
“We condemn the electoral manipulation/corruption, which was manifest in various forms in the course of the exercise – sequestration of delegates, inducement and illegal monetization of the voting process, among others. Furthermore, we register our disappointment with the unsatisfactory level of preparedness for and conduct of the primary election.” the aspirants declared.
The aspirants in the petition demanded: “That a new elections committee be constituted to address the issue of conflict of interest of at least three (3) key members of the Governor Al-Makura- led Committee which was discovered in the course of the election to favour one of the aspirants (a business associate, a friend and a landlord), at the expense of the remaining thirty-two,” the petition further stated.
“That security agencies be unbiased in ensuring a free, fair and credible election since it was obvious they had sympathy for one of the aspirants, which resulted in the security lapses recorded in the course of the exercise, such as the unrestricted invasion of the election venue by friends and associates of one of the aspirants who expectedly interfered with the voting process;
“That the quality of the ballot paper be improved because the photographs of the aspirants on the ballot papers used for the cancelled poll were blurred, small, and the names of aspirants were muddled. All these made it difficult for delegates to identify their preferred candidates;
“ That the NWC appeals to executive governors in the neighbouring states to please support the process in the interest of the party instead of showing bias to one of the aspirants. That aspirants and delegates should respect the secrecy of the ballot. No aspirant should demand evidence from delegates.”
The aspirants further alleged that some members of the National Working Committee were partial, stating that their roles at the botched primaries was a clear evidence of their bias.
“It has also been widely reported by the PUNCH newspaper of today, Monday, May 7 that already the Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has taken a position contrary to what was agreed after the Saturday event by all aspirants with the Al Makura committee,” they said.
“Instead, the APC Publicity Secretary seems to be singing from the same page as one of the aspirants that granted an interview on Sunday afternoon and took exactly the same position as the Publicity Secretary of ‘continuation,’ even when it is practically and legally impossible to do, especially, since the State Exco of the party has called for cancellation just like the under signed.
“To this end, given especially, the haste of its response and coordination with the particular aspirant in whose favour it tipped the initial arrangements, we ask the National Working Committee to recuse itself further from this process.
“The only way out as a result is to refer the report of the Al Makura committee promptly to the full NEC of the APC in an emergency meeting where the President and leader of the party working with South West regional leaders can take a firm position on the way forward in adherence to the party’s constitution,” the aspirants declared further.