- Drops committee secretary over closeness to aspirants
- Disqualifies agents
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday formally cancelled last weekend’s party primary for the July 14 Ekiti State governorship election, ordering for fresh poll be conducted Friday, May 11.
Speaking during a media parley at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, National Publicity Secretary Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi said that all agents found culpable in the disruption of the primary have been disqualified, with the primary committee secretary removed from his post.
“All identified unruly agents that participated in the suspended primary election of May 5, 2018 are disqualified from participating in the rescheduled primary as agents. Accordingly, the following individuals are hereby disqualified from participating as agents or partaking in the rescheduled primary in whatever capacity,” he said.
“The disqualified agents include Ayodeji Omowaye, Rotimi Falaye, Kayode Afolabi, Oladele Ademola Samuel, Oyetunde Ojo, Akintade Olayisade, Temitope Adewumi.
“Going forward, all agent tags must bear the name of aspirants they represent. All agents in the rescheduled primary election are hereby barred from coming to the voting arena with their mobile phones
“Security agents from other states will be mobilized to secure the venue and officials in the rescheduled election. One person would be appointed subject to the consensus of all aspirants to assist persons with disability and illiterate voters
“All aspirants must not leave their sitting position unless with the approval of the primary committee. All aspirants would be held vicariously liable for the conduct of their agents. Names of the following aspirants would now be written in the following order as stated below: Ajayi Olatunji Olowo, Olubunmi Kayode.
“The previous exercise is hereby cancelled and the primary will start afresh at the same venue on Friday May 11, 2018. Existing primary committee is maintained, except the secretary who will now be substituted.
“The NWC condemn the disruption of the Primary of May 5 and resolve that all found culpable, directly or indirectly will be punished in accordance with the relevant provision of the party constitution,” the party resolved.
While explaining the reason for dropping the primary committee secretary, the party’s spokesperson said:
“We don’t have any evidence that he has compromised in any way but what we found is that almost all the aspirants complained that he has close relationship with one of the aspirants in a way that could compromise his ability to be objective and fair to all concern.
“It is to that extent that we believe that to be on the safer side and to protect the integrity of the process, we should probably excuse him and bring in someone else. But I want to emphasis that there is no allegation that he has compromised in anyway.”
Asked whether the NWC deliberated on the allegations of an aspirant bribing delegates, and why no aspirant was found culpable during the aborted primary and sanctioned, he said:
“On the issue of allegations of bribery from an aspirant to the delegates, we can only act based on what the committee is able to report to us.”
“When we received the report, sat to deliberate on it, there is no such allegation contained in the report. Anything that is not included in the report submitted to us by the committee entrusted with the assignment, we cannot discuss it. As far as we are concerned, we will treat it as rumour.
“On the issue of the culpability of the aspirants, there are aspirants linked to the individual agents that disrupted the process but the principle of fair hearing requires that you are able to make this allegations formally to these individuals and give them the opportunity to defend themselves or explain as the case may before you take whatever action against them.
“If we proceed at this time to visit any summary discipline on them without giving them the opportunity to explain, that will not be just. Based on that, they will have the right to appeal such decisions and it could even be interpreted as an Oyegun action to disqualify someone to pave way for someone [else].
“We felt that… we [would] rather allow the process to be concluded and we can then revisit the issue. There are provisions in our constitution for dealing with that kind of action because it was an embarrassment to the party,” Abdullahi said.
Assuring on the integrity of the materials, the spokesperson said that new materials will be used, stressing that the decision to mobilize security agents from other states was not an indictment but an observation.