Apc Ondo Governorship Primary Tainted With Fraud, Irregularities – Panel, Recommends Fresh Elections

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, September 20, (THEWILL) – The All Progressives Congress (APC) Primary Appeal Committee for the party's primary in Ondo State has recommended the cancellation of the disputed poll in which Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) emerged as the governorship candidate.

The Committee, headed by Mrs. Hellen Bendega, pointed out that although there was substantial compliance with rules during the primary, it may not be sufficient reason to ignore the serious and weighty, identified irregularities that occurred in the poll.

The committee observed that the delegates' list was a major issue of contention, as its content was disputed due to its late distribution which enraged many aspirants and party members.

To this end, the Committee recommended that a rerun primary should be held immediately to beat the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) and suggested that the party's national leadership should revert to the earlier delegates' list, which was distributed to aspirants in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), shortly before the controversial primary.

“Although there was substantial compliance with rules during the primary, that consideration may not be sufficient reason to ignore the serious and weighty, identified irregularities,” the Committee stated.

“Equally disturbing is the public perception of the primary. There have been so many negative reports on this exercise all over the print, electronic and social media…A party founded on a platform of due process and which prides itself with zero tolerance for corruption and fraud, cannot be seen to condone illegality.

“The confession of non-delegates on the television that they were hired from the streets to rig for a particular candidate cast doubt on the credibility of the process.

“The late distribution of the voters' list didn't the aspirants sufficient time to lobby delegates. The situation was further compounded by the appearance of strange names of persons they couldn't easily locate.

“A final and properly harmonised list acceptable to all contenders should be compiled, adding that the delegates' list should be released, not on the eve of the primary, but much earlier to give sufficient time for the take-off of elections and avoid being used in favour of any aspirant.

“In view of the change mantra of this administration, it is pertinent that the party blazes the trail by refusing to condone a less than perfect exercise. We, therefore, formally submit our recommendations for the National Working Committee (NWC) to use its discretionary powers in line with the APC constitution and the Electoral Act to arrive at a final decision.

THEWILL recalls that about 24 aspirants participated in the primary conducted at the Dome, Akure, the state capital on September 3, supervised by Jigawa State Governor Abubakar Badaru.

The Committee received six petitions, three from aspirants – Chief Olusola Oke, Dr. Olusegun Abraham and Prof. Ajayi Boroffice; while the Chairman of Ondo Central APC, Mr. Adegboyega Adedipe, his Ondo East counterpart, Mr. Akintunde Temitope, and Mrs. Toyin Ajinde, a delegate also petitioned the Committee.

Story by David Oputah