Ekiti APC primary inconclusive


• Violence mars exercise as thugs run riot

The 33 governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State have another date to determine who flies the party’s flag in the July election.

This follows the disruption of yesterday’s primary by suspected thugs.

Voting was already in progress when the hoodlums, who had apparently massed outside the venue of the exercise, Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti, forced their way in.

Time was 4.53pm.

They overturned the tables on which the ballot boxes were placed before the full glare of security men, delegates and other observers.

They proceeded to smash the boxes.

Delegates were harassed.

Crisis erupted when agents of other aspirants complained that illiterate delegates were going to the agent of Mines and

Steel Development Minister Kayode Fayemi, Mr. Samuel Abejide, to guide them to vote.

They alleged that Abejide was also writing the serial numbers of their ballot papers to authenticate who they actually voted for.

Fayemi’s agent said it was a gang-up against the Minister that led to the spurious allegation, accusing those peddling rumour as enemies of APC.

Abejide said: “It was a proviso that if you are a delegate who can’t read and write, you can call any of the agents. When they saw that I was the one being called, they started feeling the heat and they were determined to disrupt it”.

The aggrieved agents claimed that the process had been heavily compromised in favour of Fayemi. They also accused security agents of collaborating with Fayemi’s agent to manipulate the process.

The agents’ protest had attracted their principals and other interested parties, who joined the fray and made spirited efforts to grab the ballot boxes to stall the entire process.

The thugs were not happy at the trend of voting.

They surged forward and attempted to stop delegates from further casting their ballots.

Armed policemen fired gunshots and several canister of teargas to disperse them but to no avail.

Delegates from four out of sixteen local governments had voted before the process was halted by the protesters.

One of the suspected thugs was arrested and whisked away by the police.

The suspected thug was arrested when he was trying to grab one of the ballot boxes and he was stripped naked.

The protesters chanted anti-Fayemi songs and called the minister unprintable names.

Security men deployed to the venue formed a ring around the voting centre and the state box where the aspirants sat.

The Electoral Panel led by Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, immediately met with the 33aspirants and decided to suspend the exercise indefinitely over the violence.

Al-Makura left the venue at 6.53 pm after the exercise had been suspended.

The Nasarawa governor did not talk to reporters who had laid in wait for him on the stadium’s tartan track as he made for his official vehicle, a black Toyota Land Cruiser jeep with his official crest.

Ojudu condemns disruption

Ekiti Rebirth Organization (ERO), the campaign arm of frontline All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, blamed Fayemi for the disruption.

Gboyega Adeoye, ERO spokesperson, said the State had been under siege preparatory to the primaries as “ferocious looking armed mobile policemen that came in company of the Minister, seized all the major streets for days, in reckless display of show of oppression and terror.”

He added: “Dr Kayode Fayemi during his declaration vowed that he was ready to use every underhand means to secure the ticket but our people have come out to say a resounding NO! No amount of intimidation, brigandage and crude display of wealth will stop the people’s will to install a fresh hand in our state.

“We are ready for Fayemi, we have always campaigned for a transparent primary election because we have the people on our side. With the reaction of the people to the attempt to compromise the process, Fayemi now know he does not have Ekiti in his pocket.”

Fayemi fires back at Ojudu, Daramola

However, Fayemi, speaking through  Yinka Oyebode, his media aide, said the disruption of the primary election was the height of desperation on the part of some aspirants, who “having seen defeat staring them in the face, conspired together to ensure that the exercise was not concluded.”

Dr Fayemi said the aspirants resorted to violence and destruction, having realised that he was already in a clear lead in the five local governments that had cast their votes.

Fayemi, who said he was not surprised by the disruption of the exercise, revealed that the security agencies had, a few days to the primary, been notified of plans by some aspirants to deploy hoodlums to disrupt the voting exercise.

He, however, said that the security agencies took note of the information and promised to beef up security at the venue.

“It is quite painful seeing some desperate elements trying so much to rubbish the party we all laboured to build to national reckoning, out of share lust for power.

“If the quest for political position is to serve, then one wonders why the desperation being displayed by the likes of Femi Ojudu and Bimbo Daramola.

“Certainly the conduct of these desperate aspirants falls short of the minimum standards expected of anyone that professes progressive ideals.”

Two other aspirants, Femi Bamisile and Bimbo Daramola, who spoke with reporters after the primary had been called off said the decision was taken in view of what transpired.

Bamisile said: “Agents of a particular aspirant were underwriting for some illiterate voters which other aspirants complained about.

“The chairman of the electoral committee (Al-Makura) and the aspirants agreed that the exercise should be suspended indefinitely.

“The committee will meet with the national leadership in Abuja and a new date will be fixed for a fresh exercise.”

Daramola said: “There was an issue somewhere about the exercise and they raised observation about sharp practices that had compromised the process, which led to protest and the feeling was that the process should be suspended to avoid bloodshed.”

Responding to a question that voting was disrupted because Fayemi seemed to be in the lead, Daramola retorted: “I don’t believe that is correct. The results have not been counted, so that was an assumption.

“Ekiti APC is not in any way fractured, we are one big family. If Fayemi defeats us, we are all going to back him, because the party is supreme. But this must come through a free, fair and credible process.”

 Fayose says disruption is a sign of defeat

Governor Ayo Fayose described the violence as shameful and a clear indication that “the APC will fail woefully in the July 14 governorship election because apart from its rejection be Ekiti people, the party has become a house divided against  itself that can never hold.”

Fayose, who reacted through his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said; “The whole world can now see the so-called progressives. Ordinary primary election, they can’t hold. It is shameful!”

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