Lagos, Imo APC Gubernatorial primaries mired in controversy
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday described the results being circulated as the outcome of the Imo governorship primaries as fake.
Meanwhile, Clement Ebri, a former Governor of Cross River State who is the head of the electoral panel set up by the APC to conduct the governorship primary in Lagos has said no primary was held in the state on Tuesday.
There are already figure in the public domain purportedly brandished by the Lagos APC electoral panel of votes between incumbent governor Akinwunmi Ambode and challenger Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Sanwo-Olu enjoys the support of majority of the APC leaders in the state including ex-governor Bola Tinubu.
Ebri was quoted to have said that he was not aware that any primary held as all election materials brought from Abuja were still intact.
The National Spokesperson of the APC, Yekini Nabena, was also quoted to have said that he was not aware of the cancellation of Tuesday’s primaries.
But Ebri later confirmed the primaries did not hold.
“Well, they said they were holding something, I didn’t know about it because we are busy crosschecking the architecture for it. So I am not quite aware of that,” Ebri said.
He said his committee was just concluding meetings with relevant stakeholders, after which materials will be shared for the election expected to hold Wednesday morning.
“We are trying to see if we can do an early one tomorrow. We now have all the parties present. They came. We just finished the meeting now,” he said.
Asked if he ordered for the reported elections in parts of the state, he replied: “No, no, no that wasn’t…we need to tidy up things properly. We need to.”
He also said he did not know the source of the materials used for the elections as those given to his committee were still intact.
Ebri had earlier echoed a similar statement at a press conference in Lagos Tuesday afternoon.
At the press conference, he said representatives of both governorship aspirants failed to furnish the committee with the list of their election monitors.
“Yesterday we were told to adjust our modalities to suit the open ballot that the state is clamouring for and we told them that for us to do that, both parties will present a list of representatives from all wards that would represent them in the election and it wasn’t provided,” Mr Ebri said while responding to a question on whether Tuesday’s primaries had been cancelled.
“Anything that was done without the list we waited for, I can’t wait for a list for over nine hours and I didn’t see anything and you expect me to go ahead? We had a meeting with the representatives of the aspirants as early as 8am and we told them to bring lists of representatives from each LG to monitor the election on their behalf. I got names for 20 LG reps from one side and only got seven from the other side and we just got for additional eleven LG from them.
“And you don’t expect us to go on with an election where one person is represented and the other is not. I believe what we have decided is the best. There was no election and we will communicate when materials for the election will be distributed and election conducted.”
Earlier, while addressing the media, Mr Ebri said the NWC had been “dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s to ensure that the victory that will be procured at the end of the day will be celebrated by both parties.
“Because there are two major contenders in the primary election, they needed to take their time to prepare well in other to ensure that they were fair to both parties.”
Oshiohmole stated that while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
The APC chairman also revealed 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.’’