APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the state Chairman, Babatunde Balogun, described the primary as not only peaceful, but free and fair.
There was confusion in Lagos State hours following yesterday’s governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), after the National Working Committee (NWC) panel on the election nullified the results. The panel ordered fresh election, which holds today.
Chairman of the panel, Mr. Clement Ebri, who led a a 6-man-member to the state, on Monday, described the election as null and void but, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the state Chairman, Babatunde Balogun described the primary as not only peaceful, but free and fair.
Ebri told newsmen at the Protea Hotel, Alausa, Ikeja, venue of the panel that “due to the political tension in the state, we have decided to be very careful and methodical with the process. As party men, peace is more important to us than victory.
“We are interested in the process that will be celebrated by both parties. And, that is what we have done. We are ready to go to the field and execute this. And, we aim to do it in a clinical fashion because Lagos is very important to us and it is the flagship for the party.”
He buttressed the committee’s insistence that there was no primary in the state.
“We had a session with representatives of both aspirants, here, at about 8:00am. And, we asked that they bring names of their representatives who would be used for the exercise. But, the names didn’t arrive early from both parties. There was no election….It is not our fault that this exercise took this long. In some states, primaries were moved to Thursday.
“We were waiting for the party chairman to provide certain information that would enable us post people to the wards. We have two aspirants and we needed to be fair to both parties. The information we demanded for came in about 3.30 p.m. and, we had to struggle this period to balance the equation…
“We have five persons from the Local Organising Committee and four for each Ward. They will all go out to ensure the primary is conducted. We all understand the terrain in the state especially as it concerns the traffic situation.
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“The national secretariat advised us to use ballot papers and we came into Lagos with thousands of them. But, during the stakeholders meeting, it became obvious that the state chapter of the party wasn’t ready for such primary. They claimed that there was no time to educate the members and others. And, based on the submission made at the stakeholders meeting, some changes were made.
“We were advised to conduct the open ballot in a manner that would be objective to all parties. And that is one of the adjustment we made to accommodate views of the stakeholders. For us, the stage is set (for) the primary.”
Regardless, Balogun, who also addressed newsmen at the same venue, expressed satisfaction at the conduct of the primary.
“The election took place simultaneously in all the 245 wards. Some of our members were visible in the local government councils. For example, our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at Ikeja, his own ward.
“He took part in the election and we saw the results. The results have been signed by the agents of the two aspirants.
“Those results were credible because the INEC, too, were there and they all signed off. We were all witnesses to the conduct of the election. There were no violence, no chaos, it was free , fair and transparent.”
Asked whether any member of the NWC panel members were there, he replied: “What I know is that I did not go round the Wards. The venue I went to, I saw some observers apart from the agents and INEC.
“They were publicly conducted, constitutional done and I think we will leave the rest for the people and the media. That was why we had to wait for the committee charged with the responsibility to announce the results. We are not to announce the results”.
In his response to whether he was satisfied with the conduct of the election, again, Balogun replied: “Sure. For the fact that the conduct of the election was seamless, free, no chaos, no violence and people conducted themselves well.”
It was also a day Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s deputy, Idiat Adebule, abandoned him for Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his rival.