'How Ekiti APC governorship primary was rigged'

Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele

Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele

By Idowu Gabriel

The seven aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants have explained how the the just concluded primary election of the party Ekiti was allegedly rigged.

The primary election was won by Biodun Oyebanji said to be the anointed candidate of governor of the state, Kayode Fayemi.

But speaking at a press conference in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, the aspirants said they would not leave the ruling party in spite of their grievances.

The Senator representing Ekiti Central, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele and Mr Femi Bamisile, a member representing Ekiti South at the House of Representatives who spoke on behalf of others alleged the breach of party’s constitution and vowed to address it politically and legally to serve as deterrent for future recurrence.

While addressing his campaign team across the 16 local government areas earlier, Bamidele insisted on rejecting the outcome of the exercise which produced Mr Biodun Oyebanji, as the APC flagbearer for the June 18 election.

Bamidele said, “None of us is contemplating defection from APC, this is our party. We have contributed so much to it from the days of Alliance for Democracy, (AD).”

He, however, said as much as they would not dump the party, they would not hesitate to seek redress of the alleged electoral fraud perpetrated against them.

“All we are asking for is justice. We are waiting for the national leadership to take the right step and this must start by them submitting a dummy name to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and use the two weeks window available as contained in the electoral act to do what is right in this matter.

“I can be quoted that the name that will be taken to INEC in Abuja will be dummy name, so those celebrating should do that in moderation.

“If it is part of their calculation that we will leave the party for them, they are making a mistake. We are still waiting for the national leadership on our collective position.

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“We have filed petitions and if they endorse that impunity they called primary, it will be clear that we have exhausted all the internal mechanisms for crisis resolution and we can then return to the court of law,” Bamidele said.

He alleged that the exercise was hijacked with the distribution of election materials a day before, changing of collation centres and arbitrarily appointment of officials to do Oyebanji’s biddings to compromise and subvert the will of the people.

He narrated how campaign managers, sponsors and promoters of Biodun Oyebanji were appointed and saddled with the responsibility as Returning Officers in the 16 LGAs for the exercise.

“Out of the 16 Returning Officers appointed, 11 of them were with Oyebanji when he collected his expression of interest form at the party secretariat in Abuja.

“In several of our local governments, the venues of our collation centres were changed. At the appropriate time, we will give evidence that will put all of us in public court and that will be useful in the court of law.

“Available INEC report shows that there was no voting, no valid primary election in Ekiti.

“One thing I can assure you is that the last is yet to be heard about the Ekiti governorship primary. We will not stop at anything seeking for justice,” he said.

Speaking on the matter, Bamisile warned the security agencies against threatening people with arrest over the APC governorship crisis, saying such will not work.

“This is our state, we are fighting for what we believe in , this is a democracy where everyone has the right to support whoever they like.

“Nobody should threaten us with arrest, the only thing they can do to stop us is to allow justice in our party,” he said. (NAN

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