Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The election committee deployed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to conduct legislative primaries into both the National and State House of Assembly seats in Ogun State, has indicted state leadership of the party of fraud.
This indictment was contained in a report dated Tuesday, October 9, 2018 and submitted to the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, by a member of the election committee, Okey Nnonyelu.
According to the report, a copy which was obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday, October 17, the state leadership of APC in Ogun was accused of hijacking the entire exercise to favour particular aspirants who had all emerged as candidates, when the results were yet to be officially declared by the NWC.
The report, while chronicling events of the legislative primaries held in the state on Sunday, October 7, noted that “the entire process was heavily compromised and surrendered to the Ogun State government officials and the party executive members”.
Nnonyelu, in the report, further disclosed that the APC state executive committee led by Derin Adebiyi, recruited the returning officers, conducted the primaries, collated and submitted the results to the committee for declaration and submission to the National Working Committee (NWC).
According to him, the orchestrated manipulation of the entire exercise began to play itself out on Saturday, October 6, when committee led by Col. A. A Chiroma (rtd.) held its maiden briefing and inaugural meeting to deal with its core mandates, ranging from how to carry along all the aspirants on the committees’ assignment and ensure that each aspirant nominate a members per local government as ad-hoc to work with the NWC representatives.
He added that it was also resolved at the meeting that the committee should have a meeting with all the aspirants to acquaint them with the modalities and guidelines for the primaries, scheduled for the next day, but said the two items on the agenda were compromised and ignored by the NWC representatives.
Nnoyenlu, however, said he was surprised to see party officials in the state at the hotel where election committee members were lodged around 8:00p.m and evacuated all the committee members to another hotel, belonging to the Ogun State government within the same precinct of Abeokuta.
“At this hotel, the plan started to change with the visit of the Ogun State party chairman, Derin Adebiyi and some party stalwarts to the members of the committee and the process, including materials, logistics and all, were surrendered and handed over to the Ogun State party hierarchy.
“At this stage, the committee ostensibly surrendered her mandate to the state structure. At about 11:00a.m, the chairman of the committee addressed all the aspirants and some stakeholders.
“But, with a clear departure from the original position of the committee, issues about the ad-hoc and inputs by the aspirants were rebuffed by the committee. Therefore, the aspirants were dismissed to face the voters and being a Sunday, the meeting came to an abrupt end”, Nnonyelu stated in the report.
He also said that the NWC representatives were only allowed to visit two wards within Abeokuta metropolis, out of the 236 wards that make up Ogun State and noted “the ugly experience witnessed in the wards made the committee members to retire to our respective rooms at the hotel”.
“While all committee members were in the hotel, the collated results were brought in batches at about 21:00 hours by a fair complexioned man, who introduced himself as the Chief of Staff to the Ogun State Party Chairman.
“Enquiry from my committee chairman, why we surrendered our materials to both the machinery of Ogun State chairman and the party at the state level has not yielded positive result”, Nnonyelu submitted in the report.
When contacted, the State Chairman of APC, Derin Adebiyi, who said he was unaware of any report, also denied his committee hijacked the conduct of the legislative primaries.
According to him, the exercise was conducted by the election committee sent by the NWC of APC from Abuja.
Adebiyi, however, said the author of the report was either doing the bidding of some persons afraid of the outcome of the primaries or needed to be examined.