The idea of direct primary adopted for Lagos state Gubernatorial primary has given birth to confusion within the rank and file of the party attracting protest virtually in all locations where primaries were taking place, urban express news online has learnt
A Source who pleaded anonymity to urban express news said what happened that eventually gave birth to the decision of National Working Committee (NWC) of All Progressive Congress (APC) Postponing the primary election had once raised it ugly head initially, giving room for the exercise to be postponed on two occasions and then coming again.
The source said there is no way it won’t come with confusion, how do you want those that are interested in a particular person to vote in an open ballots system in this kind of situation? He asked!
‘’The whole thing is about option A4 where all members are told to queue behind those that is of interest to them and in doing otherwise, in these kind of situation you should imagine what would be the outcome”
‘The whole exercise has a lot of question about its integrity and transparency since what is obtainable is not coming in secret ballot, there is no way one can get the best result from this kind of pattern, he said.
‘’In a viral video trending on Twitter, a lady in shomolu had also confirmed what is happening at various centres and not only in shomolu, the moment you are not coming for a particular candidates, you are either flogged with Cain and pushed out except your interest is in tandem with theirs’’.
Meanwhile, thousand of party supporters had trooped out across the state to cast their votes that suggest Jide sanwo-Olu, the main challenger to the incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was leading by a landslide as the national working committee NWC dismissed the exercise, announcing a fresh election would be held at a ‘’fresh time and date’’
Sanwo-Olu enjoys the endorsement of the party’s National Leader Bola Tinubu, who is the state’s political godfather and Ambode’s estranged benefactor.
The NWC team, led by a former Cross River State governor, Clement Ebri, had on Monday told the state’s party chieftains that the national body proposed the use of ballot papers and membership slips for persons without cards.
The party leaders, however, rejected the idea, harping that the exercise might not hold yesterday.
But at about 11:10 p.m., the same day, Mr. Wale Ahmed, secretary to the state chairman, Mr. Tunde Balogun, issued a statement saying: “I have the authority of the state chairman to inform you all that our gubernatorial primaries election will hold on October 2 (yesterday) at 9:00 a.m., as earlier planned.
All are enjoined to go out and play their roles and pass the information to all members.
Please, note that there will be no ballot papers, no ballot boxes and no acceptance of slips. Strictly APC membership ID cards for the election.”
Ambode, who appears to have the backing of President Mohammadu Buhari, had earlier expressed concern that he and many of his supporters might be disenfranchised on account of having only the slips..
While invalidating yesterday’s primary, Ebri said the NWC never authorized the exercise, as modalities were violated.
He told reporters that the state executives failed to turn in the list of officials appointed to supervise the election.
The list only got to the panel at about 3:00 p.m., he said, stressing it would have been impossible to go ahead with the process without the list.
“There was no way we could have got up at 8:00 a.m., sat down in this place for about eight to nine hours without seeing anybody, and then I would go ahead and do something?
It is only fair that when you don’t see one party, you have to wait and be patient. That is what has brought us to this point,” he said.
He explained further: “We received from one party a list about one hour ago.
At one point, they brought a list for seven local governments out of 20. About five hours later, they brought a list for 11.
Even the other two local governments have not been provided till this moment. Do you blame me?
“Will you have expected us to collect 18 from one person and 20 from another person? No. This is all about fairness and equity.
This is about integrity and I think that at the end of the day, what we did was the best.
I couldn’t have collected materials and say because the other party didn’t come, I give (them) to the other person and say go and conduct the election.”
But Balogun stood his ground. The poll will not be cancelled, he said, and the position of the NWC will not stand.
“I am the APC chairman for Lagos State and I cannot disenfranchise about 1.5 million people that took part in this exercise all over the state. It will be unfair and unjust to do so,” he insisted.
He told reporters: “The election stands because it was conducted according to the constitution of the party.
A large number of you were at the different venues where it held. The primary took place in all the 245 wards and it was peaceful.
Or did you experience violence anywhere? Not a single case of violence was recorded. It was peaceful, fair and transparent.
It was not secretive; it was direct primary and that is what we did.”
Asked about the NWC’s concern with guidelines, he answered: “What guidelines are you talking about? The basic tool for the direct primary is to have people accredited.
Once that is done, you count the numbers of those that have decided to queue behind any aspirant of their choice.”
The party consequently announced Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the primary yesterday.