Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Preye Aganaba, has taken his case to the party’s appeal committee. He insists there were irregularities during the APC governorship primary election in the state.
The APC had set up an Appeal Committee headed by Mr Shuiabu Aruwa, as Chairman, Edith Amadi as Secretary and Malik El- Yakubu as member to look into complaints against the exercise held across the 105 wards in Bayelsa State.
Aganaba in a statement he signed, rejected the declaration of Lyon as the flag bearer of the party, describing it as a mockery of democracy. According to him, Lyon’s emergence was a political hoax which lacked any semblance of credibility as the results were allegedly written in a hotel room.
According to him the process leading to the direct primary election was rift with irregularities and had set a bad precedent for a political party that prides itself as a progressive which is supposed to lead by example.
The statement read in part: “The Returning Officer, Mai-Mala Buni was not present during the primary election, having travelled back to Abuja same night after the meeting, never to return. In the morning, the secretary allegedly disappeared and his phones were switched off, thus thwarting any effort by the aspirants to address the discrepancies. The above actions clearly cast a huge doubt on the neutrality of the election committee members and their commitment towards conducting a free and fair election as they have breached every trust reposed on them. One wonders how a Returning Officer and Chairman of a governorship primary election committee can endorse a process he never witnessed; and since when did a Collation Officer substitute the powers of the Chairman of a Governorship Primary Election Committee and declare a winner? It is shocking and impossible to believe the election results can be announced from a hotel without evidence of elections having held; a simple process which is validated by the presence of election results sheets signed by ward returning officers as well as ward agents to the aspirants.”
According to a source close to Aganaba campaign organisation, he had earlier appealed to the National Working Committee to address the issue which he believes the appeal committee should be able to handle.
The source said the verdict of the appeal committee would determine whether Aganaba would still seek redress in the law court or not.
Also sources close to the Senator Heineken Lokpobiri Campaign Organisation said Lokpobiri was taking every legal step to ensure the NWC did not accept the primaries’ result.