‘We all should protect the ballot in Ekiti APC’
Former Ekiti Governor, Chief Segun Oni and a leading aspirant in the July 14 gubernatorial poll, speaks on last Saturday’s aborted primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and what should be done to bring sanity to the exercise rescheduled to hold today. NIYI BELLO reports.
What really happened at the venue of the primary?
What happened was that one of the contestants indeed nominated at least the Secretary of the committee? If you are going to a competition and one of the competitors chose the referee, you can know how frustrating it would be. The frustration of that may have led a lot of people to react negatively. So that is the source of the frustration. Why should the system allow that? Why did the National Working Committee who should take responsibility not be more circumspect? I was the Deputy National Chairman of the party for nearly four years. I knew I was taking part in a contest that must be free, fair and transparent. I did not nominate a single person in that process. I’m not stupid but I believe the sanity of the system must be kept by all of us.
They said there were some officials of that same aspirant caught with some tags. Where did they get the tags? Who gave them? Did they forge them? Or they were given to them? And we saw many of them with tags. I didn’t bring in a single person outside the delegates. And it’s not that I’m foolish. It is that we have to keep a system. If we say we want democracy, let us have democracy. What we are having now is a group of smart Alecs trying to always take the rest of the people for granted. They seek their way into anything and of course, cover it up with collusion from as many aspects of the society as possible. The question I want Nigerians to ask is, is it fair for a contestant to be involved in the selection of the umpires
What is your message to the NWC?
My message is that they should take what happened as a challenge and clean up their act. I’m sure some members of the National Working Committee, if they listen to me now, would say, yes, because some of them have been complaining in the past. You see, I believe that evil should not be so emboldened. If we embolden evil so much, we are putting in jeopardy the society at large. I don’t believe we should keep quiet about what happened. If anybody wants, they can disqualify me or do anything. I’m not after being governor of Ekiti at all cost. I’m contesting because I believe it would brighten the chances of my party. So there is no need for me to go through the backdoor and manipulate the system.
I’m not going to do that but I’m also not going to allow myself to be taken in for granted again, taken for a ride. We either have democracy or we don’t have it. So this is very very sad. It is a sad occurrence. It has given Ekiti a very bad name but it’s not the people of Ekiti that we should blame because frustration will lead to aggression. And when A frustrates B, B would become aggressive and will direct his aggression against anybody at sight. It could be D, it could be E, you know, innocent people, innocent systems and so on. I don’t support violence but at the same time, I know human beings are human beings. Don’t push them towards it. Don’t cheat them.
Do you still have confidence in the Al Makura Electoral Committee?
Well, I won’t suggest anything. The NWC is already looking look at it. Let us trust their ability to deal with the situation. But the committee, it’s very unfortunate because I saw in Governor Al Makura determination, focus and so on. But if you are playing in a minefield, then suddenly, you’ll get cropped out. The field was already a mined, impregnated by one ambitious and desperate contestant. I don’t know how many of them there are already compromised but we saw at least one was in the open.
Some of the aspirants have called for direct primary and some for consensus. How do you react to this?
Well, we have a guideline and the guideline must be followed. People cannot now because we have a problem be suggesting to us what should be done. We should look into our guidelines and anything that conforms with the constitution of the party and the guidelines that had been set up which would continue to be in force until the NEC of the party changes it through the recommendation of the NWC, that is the guideline in force and that is the guidelines we must continue to deal with.
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