Aggrieved aspirants in the recently concluded primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, have engaged in a last minute rush to beat Tuesday’s deadline for the submission of petitions to the party appeal committee.
There had been complaints from nearly all the states on the conduct of the exercise, with many stakeholders saying no election took place in their constituencies.
Our online newspapers gathered that the aspirants from more than30 states, including Kogi, Edo, Lagos, Delta, Zamfara and others, were said to have filed their petitions, urging the NWC to reverse the declaration of certain contestants as duly elected to fly the party’s flag.
The Prof. Oserhienmen Osunbor-led appeal committee was inaugurated Monday in Abuja, leaving aggrieved aspirants with barely 24 hours within which to file their petitions.
As a result, aspirants from Edo and Niger states have continued to protest the conduct of legislative primaries by the party, saying some power brokers in the party were bent on frustrating the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari by their non-adherence to party guidelines during the primaries.
An aspirant to the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency seat in Edo State, Mr Adaze Wilson Imafidon, has consequently petitioned the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party over the purported October 6 primary elections in the constituency.
Imafidon in the petition signed by his lawyers, said in spite of the short notice given him on the rescheduled primaries, he was able to fully mobilize his supporters who turned out en masse at all the designated wards and voting centres within the said Federal Constituency.
“Unfortunately, to the chagrin of Mr Imafidon and our mammoth supporters, none of the accredited members of the appropriate committee mandated by the party to supervise and conduct the primary election into the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency was present at the designated wards in the Federal Constituency except in Urhonigbe South where only the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC staff came to witness and observe proceedings of the grim election which never took place.
“Consequently, it is now beyond contention that the proposed primary election into the Federal House of Representatives in Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency, which was slated for Saturday, October 6, 2018, and indeed all other All Progressives Congress primary election throughout Edo State, did not hold after all to the dismay of our party members who had queued endlessly for hours to participate in the process,” the petitioners stated.
They said any attempt to present any of the aspirants to INEC as the winner of the botched APC primary election of October 6, 2018, will be illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“We, therefore, call on the National Working Committee, NWC, to appreciate the concerns raised above and to do justice as appropriate in the overall interest of the party,” they said.
Christopher Ariri, an aspirant to Orhionmwon East State Constituency seat, also stated that ”some of the accredited members of the appropriate committee mandated by the party to supervise and conduct the primary election into the Edo State House of Assembly, Orhionmwon East Constituency, totally hijacked the process when they noticed the our huge support by deliberately declining to count votes cast for us so as to foist on us a situation of complete helplessness.”
The APC had held its primaries recently across the federation to elect candidates for the 2019 general elections, but the national leadership of the party, however, overruled Edo State chapter of the party, describing the action as null and void the unauthorized primaries held in Edo State into the Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly.
According to the NWC, “the exercise conducted by unauthorized persons in collaboration with the party’s Edo State Working Committee is hereby null and void.”
A fresh exercise was, thereafter, slated for last Thursday which was, unfortunately, impossible. Consequently, the exercise was fixed for Saturday, October 6.
Oshiomhole is wicked, say Niger State protesters
Protesting aspirants from Niger State have also accused the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, of plain wickedness, saying the plan to upturn their victory would be fiercely but legally resisted.
Mohammed Bima, Mohammed Sani Musa and Zakari Jikantoro, who said they won the tickets for the three senatorial constituencies of Niger State, accused Oshiomhole of planning to offer automatic tickets to the incumbent senators who they described as working for the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Addressing journalists, Bima said: “I don’t think even the PDP will do what our party is trying to do. What the national leadership is trying to do is wicked; it is more than short-changing us. It is wicked but our next line of action would be in accordance with the laws.
“Our leaders should discountenance whatever is corrupt and tag along with our President in his anti-corruption efforts. Nothing should be done to take the party backward because our founding fathers have done a lot to reposition the party.
”Anything done to put back these three senators will kick the APC out of Niger State. We call on Mr President to step into this matter because we don’t want our party kicked out of the state.
“Our governor has gone round and even met with Oshiomhole pleading that those who emerged from the primaries be allowed to fly our tickets, but all these fell on deaf ears. The people that have been sustaining this party, everything must be done to keep them.
”These three senators had long abandoned our party, not paying levies. The leadership must know that these are not the friends of the party. We want to go to NASS to ensure that our people are not denied their legitimate rights. These senators are Saraki’s boys; we are Buhari’s boys. We want to get there to support Mr President.”
He said the first exercise, having been conducted as scheduled, “the second panel only came with an instruction to affirm the three current senators.
“That was after the exercise had been conducted and we were given the result sheets and all that,” Bima added.
Mohammed Sani Musa also said they would do everything to protect their mandate.
He said: “We are not going to give up our mandate. No official communication has been sent to us to the effect that our own election has been upturned.
”Reasons for the change of the committee we don’t know. Offering automatic tickets to lawmakers was not official. If it was official, why did the NWC sell forms to the same senators?”