FREEPRESS – No fewer than 27 of the 33 aspirants that participated in the marred governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State have called for disbandment of the organising committee led by Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura.
They also called for the cancellation of the votes cast by four local governments before the exercise was disrupted on Saturday.
The decision was reached by the aspirants after an emergency meeting on Sunday in Ado Ekiti.
Notable aspirants present at Sunday’s emergency meeting include a former governor, and chieftain of the APC, Segun Oni; former Speaker, Femi Bamisile; Presidential Adviser on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu; former senators Ayo Arise and Gbenga Aluko; Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Bimbo Daramola, among others.
However, Opeyemi Bamidele and the Minister of Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi were not at the meeting.
The aspirants were obviously opposed to Mr Fayemi, as they had insinuated that the alleged manipulations and compromises were done to his advantage.
Mr Fayemi, who preceded incumbent Ayo Fayose as governor of the state, appeared to be the leading aspirant in the disrupted governorship primaries on Saturday at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti.
He has insisted he was on the lead and that the results of the already held four local governments must remain.
The aggrieved aspirants alleged that the committee was openly biased and incompetent in the handling of the election.
They said the violence which occurred resulted from the shoddy way the committee handled the primaries.
They alleged that members of the primary committee compromised the integrity of the poll and that had invalidated its outcome.
The said they noticed lopsidedness and bias conduct on the part of the committee members, and urged the national leadership of the party to take further measures to ensure a rerun was credible.
“We want the committee to be disbanded completely and our National Working Committee should set up a new committee to conduct another primary that will meet international standard,” the communique stated.
“Even many of those in the panel were friends to a particular candidate and this we thought could vitiate the outcome of the election.
“We are determined to win Ekiti but the right thing must be done for a candidate that will command the respect of everybody to emerge.”
The aspirants also recommended an enclosed arena for the repeat of the election to forestall the interference of nature such as rainfall as witnessed in Saturday’s election.
“Apart from that, no aspirant should have more than an agent , because many of those who gained entry under the guise of being agents to some aspirants were used to perpetrate evil,” they said.
Also, the state chairman of the party, Jide Awe, called for the annulment of the poll,.
“The aspirants were not happy. There are lots of lessons to learn as a party. One of the cardinal principles of a free and fair election is for the electorate not to have a doubt. When a system is doubted in an election it becomes invalid.
“When a system is disrupted, it becomes invalid. An invalid primary can’t produce a valid candidate. We want to have a credible election so that the electorate will be able to vote for us at the main election.
“With what happened we believe sincerely the committee is culpable and the security agencies are compromised. So the thugs that disrupted the election some people allowed them in.”
Mr Fayemi, a leading aspirant for the APC ticket, was accused of compromising the process.
He in turn accused the aggrieved aspirants of causing the violence that ended the voting exercise on Saturday because of their desperation to win.
Whoever emerges as APC candidate is expected to be the main opposition to the eventual candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party which is set to hold its primary on Tuesday.