APC Battles Post-Primary Crises, Buhari Meets Amosun
The All Progressives Congress on Tuesday battled to resolve crises thrown up by its governorship and legislative primaries.
The investigations showed that the governing party was facing a Herculean task resolving the crises caused by the primaries in Ogun, Zamfara, Adamawa and Imo states.
There also complaints by national and state assemblies aspirants from many states of the country.
As part of the efforts to resolve the crises in Ogun State, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met behind closed doors with the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
The meeting was held inside the President’s office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The governor simply told journalists at the end of the meeting that he would be returning with some unnamed persons for another meeting with the President. He was not specific on when the meeting would hold.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, the state has been one of those that faced crises over the primaries of the APC.
The party’s National Working Committee had endorsed Dapo Abiodun as the governorship candidate of the party in the state against the governor’s choice. Amosun preferred a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Adekunle Akinlade as the party’s governorship candidate
It was gathered that rival groups in the Ogun State APC had disagreed over the outcome of the national and state assemblies primaries held in the state on Sunday.
Newsmen gathered that the Dapo Abiodun group had kicked against the primaries, where the APC’s national and state assemblies’ aspirants were picked.
In the primaries, almost all the successful aspirants were loyalists of the state Governor, Senator Ibunkule Amosun, who won the Ogun Central senatorial ticket of the party.
A chieftain of the APC, who confided in Investigation section, said the issue would be resolved by the national leadership of the party.
“You will observe that almost all those who were picked to contest legislative elections belong to Amosun’s camp. The list will be adjusted. The camp will have to cede some of the slots to the other faction,” the source stated.
Amosun had last Thursday evening met with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on the rancorous primaries. Both Osinbajo and Amosun are from Ogun State.
At the end of the meeting with Osinbajo, the governor did not speak with State House correspondents who approached him for comments.
There were also indications on Tuesday that the Presidency had started moves to resolve the crises caused by the governorship primary of the APC in Adamawa.
The state Governor, Jibrilla Bindow, emerged the candidate of the party in a governorship primary held on Saturday.
But the President’s wife’s younger brother, Mahmood Halilu, and an ex-Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, kicked against the shadow election, saying it was fraudulent.
On Tuesday, the Vice-President and the Adamawa State governor met at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
They met at the Vice President’s office for over one hour.
At the end of the meeting, Bindow avoided an encounter with State House correspondents who were waiting to interview him.
He was said to have been aided out of Osinbajo’s office through another exit in order to avoid the journalists when the meeting ended around 5 pm.
As Buhari and Osinbajo were struggling to resolve post-primary crises, aspirants for the National Assembly tickets of the APC continued their protests against the conduct of the shadow elections in some states of the federation.
Scores of aspirants and their supporters from Edo and Niger states were in Abuja, on Tuesday to lodge their complaints and submit petitions to the ex-Governor Osareimen Osumbo-led APC appeals committee.
The aspirants alleged that it was now obvious that some power brokers within the party were hell-bent on truncating Buhari’s re-election bid because they jettisoned the party’s guidelines and constitution during the primaries.
One of the aspirants from Edo State, Mr Adaze Wilson Imafidon, who was seeking the party’s ticket to contest the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency seat, submitted a petition to the appeals committee through his lawyers.
In the petition, he said the purported primary election held in the constituency was a sham.
According to his legal representatives, Imafidon and Imafidon of Eghosa Chambers, their client resorted to writing the petition to the committee because of the injustice was done to him and his supporters who are bonafide members of the party.
The aspirant alleged that none of the accredited members of the APC committee sent to the area was present during the purported election in the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency except in Urhonigbe South where only the Independent National Electoral Commission went to observe.
He said, “Consequently, it is now beyond contention that the proposed primary election into the Federal House of Representatives in Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency, which was slated for Saturday 6th October 2018, and indeed all other All Progressives Congress primary election throughout Edo State did not hold to the dismay of our client and his mammoth supporters.
They said any attempt to present any of the aspirants to INEC as the winner of the botched APC primary election of 6th October 2018 would be illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“We, therefore, call on the National Working Committee to appreciate the concerns raised above and to do justice as appropriate in the overall interest of the party.”
Speaking in a similar vein, another aspirant, Christopher Ariri, who is an aspirant for the Orhionmwon East State Constituency of Edo State, said, “Some of the accredited members of the appropriate committee mandated by the party to supervise and conduct the primary election into the Edo state House of Assembly’s Orhionmwon East Constituency, totally hijacked the process when they noticed our huge support by deliberately declining to count votes cast for us so as to foist on us a situation of complete helplessness.”
Protesting aspirants from Niger State accused the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of “wickedness.” They alleged that the plan to upturn their victory would be “fiercely but legally resisted.”
Two of the aspirants, Mohammed Bima, Mohammed Sani Musa and Zakari Jikantoro, who claimed that they won the tickets for the three senatorial constituencies in Niger state, alleged that Oshiomhole’s plot to grant automatic tickets to incumbents would equally be resisted.
Speaking to journalists, on behalf of the three, Bima said, “I don’t think even the PDP will do what our party is trying to do. What the national leadership is trying to do is wicked; it is more than short-changing us. It is wicked but our next line of action would be in accordance with the laws.
“Our leaders should discountenance whatever is corrupt and tag along with our President in his anti-corruption efforts. Nothing should be done to take the party backwards because our founding fathers have done a lot to reposition the party. Anything done to put back these three senators will kick the APC out of Niger State. We call on Mr President to step into this matter because we don’t want our party kicked out of the state.”
They said the state governor had done his bit by appealing to party leaders at all levels to allow those who won the primaries to contest the Senatorial elections come 2019 but it appears his appeals have fallen on deaf ears.
Also speaking at the event, Mohammed Musa said, “We are not going to give up our mandate. No official communication has been sent to us to the effect that our own election has been upturned. Reasons for the change of the committee we don’t know. Offering automatic tickets to lawmakers was not official. If it was official, why did the NWC sell forms to the same senators?
They further advised the party to be wary of fifth columnists who were working for the opposition to scuttle the president’s re-election bid.
There were also protests over the handling of the party’s governorship primary in Zamfara State.
A party leader from the south, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said, “We have a delicate case on our hands, I must confess. A committee was sent to the state but it became evident at some point that the committee sent there had other plans.
“They wasted so much time preparing for the exercise hiding under the guise of that they wanted to try to see if they could get aspirants to reach a consensus. The whole thing dragged on till 9:45 on Sunday- remember, this was a second attempt to hold the primary.
“When it became obvious that the party stood the risk of losing it all, the governor ordered that members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers appointed by the first committee should go ahead with the exercise.
“They also went ahead with the National Assembly elections. To the best of my understanding, the exercise took place, and the name of persons with the highest number of votes will be sent to INEC.”
Recall that the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee of the APC had last Friday sacked the party leadership at all levels in Zamfara, citing a subsisting court order to the effect.
However, the party’s Deputy National Chairman (North), Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, dismissed the sacking describing it as illegal.
He said while it was true that a court order existed, the NWC didn’t have the powers to sack the entire executive because there were procedures for doing so. He argued that these procedures were not followed.