Stories by Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Petitions exposing the ‘behind the scene’ allegations of fraud said to have characterized the Saturday’s governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo state were yesterday sent to the Chairman, APC gubernatorial Primary Election Committee.
The primary election held last Saturday in Akure, the Ondo state capital under a committee headed by Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar was seen to be transparent and devoid of manipulations.
At the end of the exercise, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) was declared winner with 669 votes defeating 23 other aspirants including Dr Segun Abraham who was the anointed candidate of the party’s National leader, Senator Bola Tinubu.
However, protest letter has been sent to the Appeal Committee by the APC Central senatorial chairman, Mr Adegboyega Adedipe, the Ondo East Chairman, Mr Akintunde Samuel and Mr Adeola Ademulegun for Ondo West APC.
In the petition, the aggrieved APC leaders called for outright cancellation of the Saturday’s primaries to pave way for fresh exercise that would reflect true reality of the election.
The petition reads in part: “A strange delegate list was introduced on the night of the election after everybody has gone to sleep only for us to wake up in the morning of the election to see a massively corrupted delegate list.
“Names of 47 percent of the delegates in Ondo East were either deleted or substituted with people who are unknown to the party as executive members. Some of the injected names are not even aware of the development and so did not come for the primary election.
“We wrote a petition to the primary Election Committee Chairman on the morning of the election and it reiterated that only people that had been voting in previous primaries would be allowed to vote with a promise to stand down the voting process for Ondo East and West Local Government Areas. We were shocked that the committee never honoured the pledge.
“In all, a total number of 64 names were injected into the delegate list. The names were unknown to the party. For instance, somebody who never contested any election, and some even unknown to the party suddenly became ward chairmen in wards four, six, two and seven of Ondo East Local Government.
“Our total valid delegates are 135 out of which 64 were disenfranchised, meaning 47 of the delegates on the unlawful list were illicit voters.
“The absence of many legitimate voters paved the way for “See and Buy” voters that were eventually used to further corrupt the process. Many voters were recruited from the road side including Okada riders, bread-sellers, street hawkers and others who were not party members but just loitering around the venue of the primary election.”
The aggrieved APC members maintained that they were not against the beneficiary of the alleged fraud, but that of the fraudulent process that produced manipulated result.
They urged the Appeal Committee to order the use of the same premises for accreditation as the voting centre during the re-run primaries to avoid the repeat of the situation where ‘compromised’ security agents load non-delegates to voting centre and give them delegates tags.