Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Eight of the 10 aspirants in the Taraba State All Progressives Congress (APC), gubernatorial primaries under the auspices of Forum of Aspirants, have called for the cancellation of the party primaries for alleged hijacking of results and other electoral materials by party Secretariat staff working for two of the aspirants, Senator Joel Ikenya and Sen. Sani Danladi.
Leader of the group, Mr. David Kente, told journalists at a press conference in Jalingo that the exercise was marred by massive irregularities while elections did not even hold at all in some places where results were declared.
Kente alleged that Ikenya and Danladi had traded on the fortunes of the state for too long and wanted to hijack power at all cost.
“Gentlemen of the Press, before you is the forum of aspirants of the APC and you can see that we are eight out of the 10 of us that went into the sham they are calling party primaries.
“We are here to distance ourselves from it because it was marred by gross irregularities and snatching of election results by thugs sent by two of the aspirants Joel Ikenya and Sani Danladi.
“We are calling on the leadership of the party to either conduct a new primaries led by a neutral group or to chose any candidate from amongst us here and we will rally round them to make sure that we achieve our onerous task of taking over power in the state and providing the needed development in the state”, Kente said.
In a swift reaction, however, Ikenya described the allegations as ‘baseless’, saying that those complaining are not on ground to woo votes and are only complaining because they have lost.
Ikenya said that rather than holding press conferences, the aspirants should wait for the election appeal committee where they would lay their complaints.
“I am aware that there were incidents of violence in parts of the state where people were even harassed and beaten.
“These are very unfortunate. However, from the Southern zone where I come from, the primaries went on very well without any incident.
“Those calling for a total cancellation of the primaries are doing so out of mischief because they have lost.
“If they have genuine issues, they should wait for the election appeal committee where they would lay their complaints rather than addressing Press conferences up and down”, Ikenya said.
The aggrieved members included Mr. David Kente, Bobboi Kaigama, Ibrahim Tumba, and Ezekiel Afukunya.
Others were Alhaji Garba Umar, Omar Aliyu, Proff Yahaya Sani and Kabiru Dodo.
Daily Sun reports that a chieftain of the APC Mr. Ahmed Yusuf Gamalia was beaten by thugs in Jalingo and his car vandalized in the course of the election that witnessed widespread violence especially in Jalingo Local Government Area.
The collation was still ongoing as at the time of this report.