APC Panel nullify Lagos governorship primary, postpones exercise

Written by on October 3, 2018

The National Working Committee panel of the All Progressives Congress sent from Abuja to monitor the party’s governorship primary in Lagos State has nullified the exercise held across the 20 local government areas of the state on Tuesday.

The Chairman of the panel, Mr Clement Ebri, who addressed the press in Alausa, Ikeja, said the election could not have held because the committee was still expecting the full list of representatives of one of the two aspirants as of 4pm.

The primary is being contested by the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the anointed candidate of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Ebri, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, however, did not mention the aspirant that defaulted on the modalities for the election.

He said the committee was interested in a credible exercise that would not disintegrate the party and would, therefore, ensure that the aspirants were given a level playing field.

The chairman, who displayed empty result sheets, said that was the evidence that the primary did not hold officially.

Ebri said, “First and foremost, yesterday (Monday) we held a stakeholders meeting; certain submissions were made and on the basis of these submissions, I contacted the national headquarters and they asked us to adjust the procedures in line with the provisions.

“We had a session with the representatives of both aspirants, they were here as early as 8am and at that meeting, we discussed some of these modalities and asked them to furnish us with names of people who will act as agents for this exercise.

“So, we received the list from one party about one hour ago. At one point, they brought a list for seven local governments out of 20 and about five hours later, they brought list for 11. Even the other two local governments have not been provided till this moment (4pm). Do you blame me? Will you have expected us to collect 18 from one person and 20 from another person? No.

“This is all about fairness and equity and I think at the end of the day, what we did was the best. I couldn’t have collected materials and say because the other party didn’t come, I give to the other person and say go and conduct the election.”

Ebri said he would contact the NWC to seek further directives on the new date for the exercise.

He said the NWC panel was committed to ensuring a free, fair and credible process in line with guidelines and extant rules for the exercise to avoid being accused of partisanship.

“Because of the political tension in the state, we decided to be very careful, very methodical and very meticulous. As party men, peace is more important to us than victory. We want victory that will be celebrated by both parties. We are ready to go to the field and execute this in clinical fashion so that at the end of the day we will not be accused of partisanship,” he added.

When prodded further on whether the election had been cancelled or not, one of the members of the panel, Chief Clever Egbejie, said, “It has been cancelled. No election held.”

Primary stands says Lagos APC chairman

But the APC chairman in the state, Tunde Balogun, said the election was held across the 245 wards in the state, describing it as free, fair and transparent.

Speaking in Alausa, Ikeja, before the cancellation of the election, Balogun said bona fide members of the party were accredited between 9am and 12pm after which the voting started under the supervision of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“The results were signed by the agents of the two aspirants. The results were credible because INEC officials were there to witness the exercise; there was no violence,” he added.

Asked whether the NWC members were involved in the election, Balogun said he did not go round the wards, but he saw some observers apart from the agents and INEC officials.

He said, “The election was properly conducted; constitutionally done and we leave the rest for the people. The conduct of the election was seamless and there was no chaos.”

However, a member of the APC from Ward E, Bariga, Somolu Local Government Area, Oluwabunmi Adetola, said the exercise was marred with violence.

She said, “The council chairman went round with thugs. They beat up people; some of our people are in hospitals. They did not allow us to vote. Anybody that wanted to vote for Ambode was not allowed to vote. There was nothing like election in Lagos.”

However, at a later press conference at the state APC secretariat in Ogba, Balogun said the governorship primary remained valid and the result would soon be announced.

Balogun said, “The primary election took place in all the wards – 245 wards in Lagos State – and it was peaceful; not a single case of violence was recorded.

“The election stands because it was conducted according to the constitution of our party. The results were recorded under INEC supervision.

“I am the APC chairman for Lagos and I can’t disenfranchise about 1.5 million people that took part in the exercise all over the state. It will be unfair, it will be unjust to do so.”

Asked when the results will be collated and announced, Balogun said, “The results are coming in.”

‘There was no election in Lagos’

Meanwhile, the Ambode Campaign Organisation on Tuesday said the governor had not conceded any defeat as primary election had yet to hold in Lagos State.

In a statement on Tuesday, the ACO argued that there were guidelines and procedures which the NWC said must be followed in conducting a credible poll and which were not followed.

“These include the usage of membership slips and membership cards by registered party members, as well as the adoption of secret ballot system which protects the electorate.

“The NWC came from Abuja with sufficient ballot papers which have yet to be distributed. As a loyal and responsible party member and a democrat, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is guided by the process announced by the party and shall await the new date of the governorship primary election,” the statement read in part.

Also, in a fresh statement, another group, #Letthetruthprevail, said there was intimidation in the Tuesday primary.

“Lagos APC took charge of an election which it had no authority over. All primaries across the nation are conducted by the National Working Committee.

“All APC members in Lagos with either their voter’s cards of slips whose names are on the register are eligible to vote. In this case, registered members with their slips were not allowed to vote, thereby excluding a significant majority of eligible voters.

“The poll should have been conducted by open secret ballot system, which removes any form of voter intimidation. In this case voters were forced to stand behind the pictures of candidates and were openly intimidated,” the statement read.

APC NWC in charge in Lagos – Oshiomhole

Oshimohole on Tuesday said the party’s NWC was in charge of the Lagos primary.

He said every situation had been put under control.

Oshiomhole spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he had a closed doors meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said, “Everything that is being done is done under the control of and supervision and directions of the NWC.”

Oshiomhole said the direct primaries adopted for Lagos was meant to ensure that there was no violence.

He added, “Democracy doesn’t flourish with violence and Nigeria must begin to learn how to differ in opinion and in choice without fighting.

“I am excited that if we can do it in Lagos, we can do it anywhere.

“We actually had one but you know when things go peacefully, it appears our editors will be more bias towards what is called sensational news.

“Kano people trooped out two days ago and we saw a governor queuing with the ordinary people in his own ward to nominate a governor, all kinds of people participating because they are members of the party to decide who contest the next election, this is revolutionary.

“This time very ordinary people are to determine whether a governor should run again or not run again.”

When contacted to comment on Lagos State governorship primary, the acting National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Yekini Nabena said, “I have no information at the moment. We have to hear from the committee sent to Lagos first.”

Lagos APC declares Sanwo-Olu winner

However, around 9pm on Tuesday, Balogun declared Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the governorship primary.

Balogun said Sanwo-Olu polled 970,851 votes to defeat Ambode who had 72,901 votes.

The chairman, who insisted that the election was free and fair, thanked members of the party for coming out to vote.

Balogun said, “It is my pleasure and delight to read the result of the election conducted all over Lagos State in all the 245 wards to the public.

“The results are as follows: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, recorded 72, 901 votes; Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu had 970, 851 votes. Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the winner of today’s primary election.”

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