Two of the aggrieved All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants in Ekiti state have vowed that all the alleged shenanigans and breach of party’s constitution by Governor Abubakar Badaru-led Primary Committee of the party would be addressed politically and legally to teach APC a lesson of its life.
The aggrieved aspirants are the lawmaker representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and member House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Bamisile.
The duo spoke at a joint press conference Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
They, however, clarified that their grievances over the shadow poll won’t make them defect from the ruling party.
Rather, they vowed to stay back and teach the ruling party a bitter lesson over the alleged electoral malfeasance perpetrated during the primary, using political and legal means.
Addressing journalists when he hosted members of his campaign team from across the 16 local government areas in his office in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Senator Bamidele, like Bamisile, formally rejected the outcome of the primary that produced Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, the immediate past Secretary to the State Government (SSG) as the party’s gubernatorial candidate after due consultations with supporters.
On whether the seven aggrieved aspirants that constituted themselves into a political force with the acronym G7 would defect from APC, 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. “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 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. We have filed petitions and if they endorsed that impunity they called primary, it will be clear that we have exhausted all the internal mechanisms for crisis resolution and we can from there return to the court of law.”
Reeling out how the election was allegedly manipulated, Bamidele stated that the Badaru-led committee hijacked the process by distributing materials a day before election, changed collation centres, and arbitrarily appointed those that would do Oyebanji’s biddings to compromise the process and subvert the will of the people.
“The Ad-hoc staff were to be adopted for the conduct of the poll because it was assumed that every member in Ekiti would have taken position. When you talk of ad-hoc staff, it means those that would be brought from the national secretariat of the party or APC members from other states.
“The process was totally hijacked by Badaru committee. What we saw was seeing people who were campaign managers, sponsors and promoters of Biodun Oyebanji being appointed and saddled with the responsibility of being Returning Officers in the 16 local governments.
“The election materials were to be distributed early on Thursday before the start of the primary and to be distributed in the presence of agents of aspirants, INEC, security chiefs and monitoring teams. But materials, both sensitive and non-sensitive, were distributed in previous night. We got calls that as of 11pm, Governor Badaru had handed over materials to Returning Officers from the 16 councils.
“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. We should take every step that will challenge this political misbehaviour from repeating itself in future, so that politicians can learn how to take caution and be civil.
“Majority of Ekiti people are seriously disappointed with the way the election went. I thought
the election would be free and fair, because I thought Dr. Kayode Fayemi won’t get involved in things that will deprive the party of free and fair process and that he will provide for a level playing ground. Only history will judge me whether I was right or not. I thought I knew him, but I didn’t know that I did not know him quite enough,” the lawmaker said.