.. rules out parallel results
By Ikenna Omeje
There was in confusion yesterday over the declaration of winners and results of primary elections of All Progressive Congress ( APC) in Imo, Lagos and Ogun states. This follows the declaration of result of Primary election in IMO State as fake by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.
Also in Lagos State, while the Chairman of the State chapter of the APC announced Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the governorship primary that held across the state on Tuesday, the primary electoral committee of the party led by Clement Ebri earlier invalidated the election, postponing it till a “fresh date and time”.
Making the announcement, Tunde Balogun, state chairman of the party, said Sanwo-Olu polled 970, 851 votes while Akinwunmi Ambode, incumbent Governor of the state, who polled 72, 901 votes.
Balogun, who described the exercise as free, fair and credible, maintained that it would be unfair to disenfranchise the 1.7 million registered members of APC following conflicting reports that has trailed the conduct of the exercise.
The panel of the National Working Committee (NWC) from Abuja deployed to oversee the conduct of the election earlier denied any knowledge of any conduct of election in the state.
According to him, “We thank the members for participating in the election t peacefully select APC standard bearer for next year’s election.
“They did this with enthusiasm and dedication. To be clear, an APC primary election was held in Lagos and this was in accordance with the party constitution.
“In pursuant to the constitution, it was stated that the primary would be conducted in direct open system where each voters would queue behind their preferred candidate.”
Mr Oshiohmole in response to questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday stated that the party had disbanded the Ahmed Gulak-led Committee that conducted the party’s governorship primaries in Imo State.
According to him, another committee will be set up immediately for the conduct of fresh primaries in the state before the end of the week.
“Imo was not too good news for today, but not surprising they have to learn to begin to comply with rules, they have two fake results, none of them is genuine.
“We will disband and we will appoint a fresh committee (electoral panel) that will conduct transparent direct primaries that reflect the will of members of APC in Imo regardless of the interest and powers that are behind any of the groups.
“The truth does not require supporters club to stand, it has its hands and legs and we will do just that”.
Mr Oshiohmole, who said he was in the villa to update President Buhari on the developments in the APC, ruled out the possibility of honouring parallel results from states.
On the conduct of the APC primaries in Lagos State on Tuesday, the APC chairman disclosed that the National Working Committee (NWC) was in charge of the primaries and that every situation had been put under control.
“I told the president that the primaries held as planned and everything is being done to ensure there is no violence because democracy doesn’t flourish with violence.
“Nigerians must begin to learn how to differ in opinion and in choice without fighting; this is something people have to acquire over time.
“For me, I’m excited that if we can do it in Lagos it can be done anywhere.
“Everything that is being done is done under the control, supervision and direction of the NWC.’’
Mr Oshiohmole maintained that no matter how highly a member may be, he or she must subject himself/herself to the constitution of the party.
It would be recalled that the APC National Working Committee (NWC) panel had on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the Lagos governorship primary election, saying the preparatory process for the election had just been concluded.
The Chairman of the panel, Clement Ebri, made this known when he spoke at a news conference in Alausa, Ikeja.
He said: “The preparatory process had just been concluded for the primaries. The primary is to begin anytime soon.
“There was no election. Election materials are being sorted.
“The stage is set and election begins anytime from now. We have guidelines and we will stick to the guidelines.
“Because of the political tension in the state, we decided to be very careful, very methodical. As party men, peace is more important to us than victory.
“We want a kind of victory that will be celebrated by both parties.
“We want an election that will be credible and in line with the guidelines, the extant rules and the laws of the country.
“And that is what we have done. We are ready to go to the field and execute this so that at the end of the day, we will not be accused of partisanship. Lagos is very important to us and it is a flagship of the APC.’’
He assured the stakeholders that the committee would do its best to give credible primary to the state by working together with the national headquarters of the party for information on the preparatory process.
“It takes a lot of work for the main show to take place. We are ready to give the state the most credible election. We will contact the national headquarters on the timing for the release of materials. It is not our fault that this exercise took this long.
Ebri added, “We have two aspirants and we need to be fair to both parties. The information we demanded for came in about an hour ago.
And we had to struggle this period to balance the equation. Now that we are ready, we will contact the national headquarters on the situation and the right time will be announced.”
Also in Ogun State, House of Assembly (OGHA), Hon. Kunle Oluomo, escaped unhurt on Tuesday morning when dozens of armed gang suspected to be political thugs, invaded his constituency office in Ifo, demanding his whereabouts.
The suspected thugs who were furious for not seeing him after thoroughly ransacking the constituency office located near Ifo market along Lagos – Abeokuta road, vandalized the window panes of campaign office, items and four buses that convey school children to and fro schools within Ifo Local Local Government.
Our Correspondent gathered that Oluomo representing Ifo constituency 1 at OGHA, and who sighted the approaching hoodlums in good time, hurriedly hid himself, escaping them before they surged into the office ransacking and smashing everything on sight.
As at evening yesterday, tension still pervaded the volatile Ifo town because of the hoodlums even as heavy presence of armed Policemen and soldiers were sighted keeping vigil at the area to forestall a major breakdown of law and order.