There is crisis in Ondo APC over alleged rigged primary election held on 3 September. And the signs of crisis are all palpable.
Even the national body of the party, expected to mediate in resolving the issues has been caught in its own self-contradiction with party chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, reported to have overruled the rejection of the decision of the party’s National Working Committee on an appeal committee set up by the party. The party initially denied the report, but later withdrew the denial.
The Party’s National Working Committee (NWC) rejected the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.
Now it is no longer clear whether the rejection will hold, following a threatening press conference in Akure by three aggrieved governorship aspirants– Chief Olusola Oke, Chief Segun Abraham and Senator Ajayi Borofice – held at the NUJ Press Centre, Akure on Friday.
Here is their statement:
You will recall that the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ondo State chapter, held its Gubernatorial Primary Election on Saturday, September 3, 2016. Recall also that three major aspirants here present lodged serious and substantiated complaints against the process of the election.
Gentlemen of the press, since election is a process, this media chat is to, once again, bring into the public domain the grim dirtiness that characterised the process which was not captured and shown to the people of Ondo State in the cinema beamed live on 3rd September, 2016.
Since we have discovered the dirtiness in the process of the last primary election, it is necessary, as change agents, we speak against the corruption in the process. As you are aware, we approached the Primary Election Appeal Committee provided for by the APC Primary Election Guidelines.
As enumerated in our petitions, which we submitted to the Appeal Committee that was duly constituted by the National Executive Council (NEC) with the approval of the National Working Committee of APC and as contained in the Primary Election Guidelines of APC, the following are the planks upon which our appeals are based:
Fraudulent injection of three hundred and eighty three (383) names into the delegates list that was used to conduct the primary election.
Issuance of delegate tags to non-delegates and allowing the non-delegates to vote in the primary election.
On investigation, three hundred (300) delegate tags were indiscriminately issued to non-delegates, two designated buses were provided to convey known non-delegates to the voting centre and voted to give undue advantage to one of the aspirants. These, among others were discovered after the charade called credible election.
It is important to bring into the public domain that on Friday, September 2nd, 2016, a new copy of compromised delegates list was made available to all the aspirants by the Election Committee of APC around 10:30pm.
On the receipt of the purported new delegates list, we all made a written protest letter, including Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, transmitted our letters to the Primary Election Committee Chairman informing him of our rejection of the substituted delegates list.
As democrats, having discovered the fraud in the process, we submitted ourselves to the process of redress as stipulated in the Primary Election Guidelines of APC, believing that we are safe in the hands of supposed democrats. The Appeal Committee, within the mandate of their authority, having regards to the preponderance of evidence laid before it recommended that the election be nullified and another election be conducted.
In line with the Electoral Guidelines of APC, the report of the Appeal Committee was submitted to the National Working Committee for final ratification.
Gentlemen of the press, considering our strength in the APC and a total votes of 1,617 in the primary election, as the Apex authority in the administration of APC in Nigeria, we have always assumed sanity and reasonableness on the part of the members of the National Working Committee. We hope the members of the working committee will uphold justice and exorcised corruption from the process.
Yesterday, September 22nd, 2016, the National Working Committee considered the report of the Appeal Committee and puts its decision on the recommendations of the Appeal Committee to vote. The majority of the members of the National Working Committee voted that the recommendations of the Appeal Committee be upheld. To our dismay and in a manner at variance with democratic norms, the National Chairman overruled the majority of the National Working Committee. He rejected the path of truth and upheld the primary election that its process was characterized with corruption.
Let it be known that we are not deterred by the action of the National Working Committee and the undemocratic behaviour of the National Chairman, we are encouraged by the genuine desire of the people of Ondo State for a change that will free them from the economic captivity of the present administration in Ondo State.
We are determined to liberate our people and no undemocratic decision of a party and its leadership will be allowed to misdirect our attention from the goal.
We have a mission, mission to liberate our people, mission to bring about sustainable change, a mission to give government back to the people of Ondo State.
Therefore, we hereby condemn in absolute terms the undemocratic decision of the National Working Committee. Since the party and the official leaders of the party have found pleasure in covering fraud, we owe the people of Ondo State a sacred duty of liberation. This we are committed to and this we shall do.
In the days ahead, we shall consult widely and make public the next line of action that will liberate our people from the present state of hopelessness and despair.