• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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3 aspirants petition election appeal committee over Ondo APC primary

3 aspirants petition election appeal committee over Ondo APC primary

By Jacob Akintunde

Three of the 15 aspirants who lost in the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primary for the April 20 gubernatorial election in Ondo State have kicked against the process.

Mohammed Abubakar, the chairman of the Appeals Committee on the primaries, and immediate past governor of Bauchi State, disclosed this on Monday while speaking with journalists at the APC Secretariat in Akure.

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the gubernatorial elections scheduled for November 16, this year having scored 48,569 votes in the polls, to defeat other 15 aspirants.

The Chairman of the governorship primary election committee and Governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo, declared the incumbent governor the winner in the early hours of Monday.

But the Appeal Committee, chaired by Abubakar, alongside other members of the committee, Obiocha Israel; Secretary, Jamilu Isiyiaka Gwamna, Patrick Obahiagbo and Onyeka Okafor said; “We have received three petitions from these three aspirants; Gbenga Edema, Jimi Odimayo and Wale Akinterinwa.

Wale Akinterinwa, in the petition, said; “it is clear that the Committee failed woefully to obey or abide by its guidelines set for the election. It is equally clear that the Committee did not distribute materials to any local government in Ondo State for the election.

“That the purported primary election said to have been conducted by the Ododo-led Committee was a sham, a shame and rape of democracy.

“That the purported election should be cancelled and a new date should be picked and a new election conducted.

“That the HE. Usman Ododo committee has compromised itself because of not obeying its own rules and so should not he allowed to conduct the new election. I wish that you will do everything within you to ensure our party is saved from this national embarrassment.”

In his petition, Gbenga Edema said; “Based on the said returns, I have appealed the decision of the election committee on the ground that: The said primary election was fraught with irregularities that run foul of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress, APC; and the Party guidelines set out for the conduct of the said primary election.

“We make bold to say that all these were missing in the so-called primary election purportedly held in Ondo State on April 20, 2024. We have brought this to your notice that no election ever held in Ondo State APC. The committee is invited to order that a proper election be held without delay.

Jimi Odimayo also called for the outright cancellation of the APC primary election and the disbandment of the seven-man committee with immediate effect to reposition the party for better performance.

“Kindly note that our party is the cynosure of all eyes and it is expected of us to do what is right at all times.

“As part of the party’s guidelines, nobody is allowed to be a Returning Officer in his or her ward of origin. This provision of the guidelines was flagrantly abused by the people saddled with the responsibilities of conducting a credible, free and fair primary election: The Returning Officers were assigned the election duties of their wards of origin. Such impunity would lead to a clash of interest,” Odimayo said in the petition.

Abubakar, however, said; “let me use this opportunity to assure members of our party that this committee intends to be thorough and transparent in treating any complaint that we will receive.

“I can assure you that within a few days, we will consider the total number of petitions we received and render a report to the national headquarters of our party before the party takes a final decision on the issue of the primary.

“As I’m speaking with you, only three petitions have been received. So, I am calling on all the aspirants who have complaint(s) to please, feel free to forward it to us. We have since established our office at the headquarters of the party for collection of this appeal if there are.”