Ondo APC Primaries: The All Progressives Congress primary election in Ondo that produced a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Rotimi Akeredolu has been annulled by the constituted election panel.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the report of the Appeal Panel Committee on the Ondo State governorship primaries.Impeccable sources told New Telegraph that while two members of the three-man panel recommended the cancellation of the primaries that produced Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu as governorship candidate of the party, a minority report upheld the primaries. Helen Bendega (chairman) and Musa Umar (Secretary) recommended the cancellation of the Ondo governorship primaries, but a member of the appeal panel, Nikky Eze did not sign the report of the panel.
The appeal committee has recommended a cancellation of the election and ordered that a fresh primary election be conducted among the aspirants as the gap between Akeredolu and others were minimal compared with the complaints of the swap of names on the delegates’ list.
In the report submitted to the NWC of the party, which was discussed yesterday without conclusions, the committee stated that the election was manipulated from the delegates’ list to favour Akeredolu. It also said that the delegates’ list was manipulated and cannot be ignored by the party.A copy of the report seen by New Telegraph read in parts: “Thus, in consideration of the above observed irregularities, and for the sake of equity and fair play, it is hereby recommended as follows: The election result should be cancelled; a rerun election should be ordered immediately in order to beat INEC’ s deadline.
“The party headquarters should consider reverting to the earlier delegates’ list which was distributed to aspirants when they came to Abuja shortly before the primaries.”
It further recommended that a new or harmonised delegates’ list be compiled for the new primaries.
It added: “Delegates’ lists should not, as a policy, be released too late i.e. on the eve of elections, but much earlier, in order to give sufficient time for the smooth take off of elections and avoid being used in favour of oneaspirant.”
The committee said that it premised the recommendations on the petitions submitted by six other aspirants who ran against Akeredolu.At yesterday’s meeting, majority of the NWC members rubbished the panel’s report. To protest the rejection of the panel report, the South-West National Vice Chairman, Chief Pius Akinyeleru, was the first to leave the meeting. A member of the NWC told a correspondent that the party leadership will, today, uphold the primaries.
The party’s national leadership yesterday adjourned its meeting held to consider the report till today. The meeting, which lasted for over three hours at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja, had all the NWC members in attendance.
The meeting was specifically held to consider the report of the Appeal Panel Committee on the Ondo governorship primaries conducted on September 3. Controversies have trailed the result of the governorship primaries won by Akeredolu (SAN). Akeredolu defeated Engr. Segun Abraham, the preferred candidate of the national leader of APC,
Senator Bola Tinubu. Abraham, Olusola Oke and Senator Ajayi Borofice had petitioned the APC Appeal Panel Committee, headed by Mrs. Helen Benaga, alleging irregularities on the delegates’ list for the primaries.
Further investigations by a Tori correspondent affirms the suspicion that the panel could have been compromised following some strigent loopholes in the operations of the panel.
2 of the 3 panel members requested for cancellation. One didn’t sign and wrote a counter report stating that his members were induced to write the report.
The national committee brought up to salient issues regarding the report; the panel concluded without inviting the team that conducted the primaries (Jigawa Governor and others) to defend themselves over the allegation that Akeredolu brought in fake delegates.
Second, the panel didn’t invite the party responsible for the delegates list; the national working committee, to defend its own list. The committee noted that Akeredolu is not responsible for creating the list yet the panel didn’t call the NWC. Stakeholders in Ondo State and Nigerians at large await the decision of the NWC today.However, in attendance at the meeting yesterday to review the report of the appeal panel were the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, two Deputy National Chairmen, South and North, Engr. Segun Oni and Senator Shuiabu Lawal respectively.
Others are the National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni; National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu; National Treasurer, Mohammed Gwagwarwa; National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso; Deputy National Secretariat, Hon. Oji Ngofa and all the National Vice Chairmen of the party. Odigie-Oyegun stated after the meeting that it was adjourned to continue tomorrow (today). His position was corroborated by Izunaso.