From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary on Ekiti State governorship election, Governor Mohammad Badaru Abubakar, has declared that he conducted the exercise with utmost fear of God.
Speaking at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja after submitting the report of the party primary conducted on Thursday in Ekiti, the Jigawa state governor denied writing result to favour the party’s standard bearer, Biodu Oyebanji.
Asked his words of caution to the disgruntled aspirants, Badaru said: “They are party members. What we expect them to do is to join hands with us so that we can continue to build the party and we continue to support the candidate that emerges.
“At the opening of my engagement with the aspirants, at the stakeholders meeting we held in Ekiti State, I told them that power comes from God. And it is only God that will determine who will win.
“And if we take it in our hearts to be patient, God will certainly reward us. And believe that he knows who will be the next governor of Ekiti State even before we start this process. So, we should take heart to be responsible and respectful. And stop casting aspersions or unnecessary allegations on people because destroying somebody doesn’t mean victory for you.
“It means you are also destroying yourself. Be fair to all. And be open to all and God will continue to help you. But if you chose to castigate and humiliate people, and cast insults on people God is watching.
“You will certainly harvest what you have done because the truth will always come out. And we did this primary with utmost fear of God. And those that knows me know I cannot write result for anybody,” he said.
On how credible the number of votes polled by the aspirants and how it can translate into electoral victory for the party during the governorship election, he said that the number is realistic.
“You can see the numbers. The winner got 107, 000 votes out of 180,000 registered members. So, it is a very realistic fact. It is only 60-65 per cent members that came out to vote which is very realistic. And for those of you that have been there on the field, you have gone round ward by ward by yourselves that it is actually people.
“Before the election, I promised the aspirants that I will never receive a result written where people have not participated in the process. And that was why the 11 wards cannot be return to me because I knew there were violence and election didn’t take place. That is why I cancel them,” he said.
Governor Badaru equally stated their mission at the secretariat, emphasising: “We have submitted the results sheets and reports where they were conducted in the 166 wards. 11 wards were disrupted and we canceled those areas but in 166, people actively participate. And I think you all have the videos of what transpired in all the 166 wards except the 11. Even the 11 that had crisis, I am sure you have seen the videos.”
On the protest by seven of the aspirants that pulled out of the process, he said: “That is absolutely not true. We landed on the 26th. I had meetings with all the aspirants and seven attended out of eight. And we discussed the guidelines and agreed on all the terms. What they are alleging probably, party members loyal to the governor, were chosen to serve as returning officers in various wards and local governments.
“They raise that at the meeting. And I asked them, the guidelines is to use the party people to do the job. We cannot hire or take people that are not from the party. But they can also give us 20 each from the party people that they believed will do justice to them. They provided those 20 list which we incorporated into returning officers.
“This was communicated in the early morning to them because they sent their own list very late and that was what even delayed us that night. But we managed to incorporate all the 20 people each they sent to us to participate also in the exercise.
“But you can see from what happened that they are supposed to have agents in all the 177 wards. And this 11 wards that the primaries were disrupted were wards that had relationship with most of the aspirants. So, you can see if they have that power, to stop the congress, they could have done it also in the 166 wards,” he explained.