One of the leading aspirants in the last Saturday’s governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State, Olusola Oke, has alleged irregularities in the process.
Mr. Oke said the governorship primary, which returned a former National President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as winner, was marred by irregularities.
According to him, over 500 illegal delegates were included in the list of delegates, while authentic voters were denied the opportunity to vote.
Speaking through his Director of Campaign, Bola Fisayo, in Akure, the state capital on Sunday, Mr. Oke said the illegal delegates were not constitutionally elected as delegates of the party.
“The illegal delegates voted because the organizers introduced a delegates manifest with which tags were issued and which admitted the delegates into the centre”, said Mr. Oke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2012 governorship election in the state.
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The aspirant insisted that the list of delegates used deferred from the authentic list, pointing out that some delegates were deliberately omitted and replaced with those who were not elected as officials of the party.
Mr. Oke, who had an impressive outing by scoring 576 votes to come third behind Olusegun Abraham despite joining the APC in March, 2015, also alleged that the “illegal” voters were used to rig the election after they were given multiple ballot papers to vote for a particular candidate.
“We have made representations to the appeals committee already, hoping that it would look into the process”, he said.
Mr. Oke was reluctant to congratulate Mr. Akeredolu after the latter was declared winner in the early hours of Sunday, saying he would review the exercise and come out with a position.
He also said those insinuating that he would leave the party if he failed to win the primary, were only expressing their personal opinions.
In a swift reaction, the Ondo APC spokesman, Omo’oba Adesanya, said the primary was transparent and devoid of any form of malpractices.
He also countered the argument that the list of delegates used was not the authentic one.
According to the party spokesman, the list earlier available to aspirants was not authentic because it did not have the names of some elected officials who should be there.
“For example, the name of the Woman Leader, South, who has been in that position for the past two years was not in that list of delegates”, Mr. Adesanya said.
“These issues were raised and the Appeals Committee made a recommendation, but congress could not implement that list before the 2015 election and so the faulted list continued to be in use.
“Now that the national body got interested, Kekemeke (state party chairman) had no choice but to submit the authentic list which was used by the organising committee of the primary”.
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Recall that Buhari in his speech called for an end to the protest, adding that his government had already accepted and started implementing demands of the protesters.
He, however, failed to acknowledge the shooting of protesters by soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday night by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodinyan, the PDP said Buhari’s address was depressing and failed empathy test.
The party appealed to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of the nation.
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This was contained in a statement titled “EndSARS- Lekki Massacre,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, late on Tuesday.
Ologbodiyan said, “The Peoples Democratic Party, condemns in very strong terms, the killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos as well as other parts of our country.
“It is shocking that security agents and, in some cases, thugs, were reportedly deployed to end the lives of promising Nigerians. This, to say the least, is saddening.
“Those responsible for the heinous murder of the innocent and harmless Nigerians must account for their nefarious acts.
“The PDP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct an end to these wanton killings across our nation.
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He stated this during an interview with Africa Independent Television AIT on Monday night.
Bello called on his fellow state governors to tack charge in their respective states so as to prevent loss of lives and properties due to attacks by hoodlums.
He, however, warned Nigerian youths to resist the temptation of using the current situation in the country to seek an undemocratic change in leadership.
The Governor warned that those interested in the presidency must wait till 2023 and go through democratic processes.
He urged the protesting youths to leave the streets and embrace dialogue.
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