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Seven boycott Ekiti guber primary over alleged manipulation

By Ayodele Afolabi, Ado Ekiti
28 January 2022   |   3:43 am
It seems time to seal the crack in All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti is not now, as yesterday’s party primary in the state ended in chaos...

[FILES] Fayemi. Photo/facebook/JKayodeFayemi

Exercise fair, credible, Oyebanji declares
• Police intercept 12 more hoodlums in Ekiti

It seems time to seal the crack in All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti is not now, as yesterday’s party primary in the state ended in chaos.

Seven aspirants boycotted the primary, alleging fraud and manipulation, claiming that the process had been hijacked to favour the alleged anointed candidate of Governor Kayode Fayemi.

They demanded that the process be delayed for some days for all to be prepared. The aggrieved aspirants, in a statement, in Ado-Ekiti, described the primary as a sham, urging the party’s leadership to cancel the exercise.

The protesters include Otunba ‘Demola Popoola, Kayode Ojo, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Oluwatoyin Afolabi Olufemi Bamishile and Bamidele Faparusi.

The statement reads: “The seven aspirants herein received with rude shock and dismay the purported list of the local government election committee and ward election committee made up solely by party members and political appointees that had before now openly endorsed the candidacy of Biodun Oyebanji, the immediate past Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

“It is on record that the government of Governor Kayode Fayemi has given its unwavering support to the candidacy of Biodun Oyebanji. It is common knowledge that the governor and most appointees of the governor are openly rooting for and supporting Biodun Oyebanji’s aspiration to become the flag bearer of our great party.

“What is more disturbing is the fact that a simple glance at the names of the persons appointed as members of both committees would reveal that it is made up of appointees of government who are all supporters of a candidate in the primary they are appointed to superintend over.

“The seven candidates herein are loyal, faithful and committed party members who are sincerely concerned about the chances of the party in the forthcoming 2022 governorship election where imposition is allowed to override a Democratic primary election for determining its flag bearer.”

They added: “We request that both the local government election committee and ward election committee that was constituted on the list already in circulation be disbanded and replaced with names that would reinforce internal democracy and uphold the aims and objectives of the party.”

REACTING, Oyebanji declared that the APC appeal panel would handle all controversial issues surrounding the primary.

Addressing journalists at his Ikogosi, Ekiti West Local Council’s country home, where he voted, he termed the entire process as credible, free and fair.

MEANWHILE, the police in Ekiti State have intercepted an 18-seater bus conveying 12-armed men, suspected to be errand boys for politicians, a few hours to the primary.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Command, ASP Sunday Abutu, gave the confirmation to newsmen yesterday in Ado-Ekiti.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that interception came barely 24-hours after the command announced the arrest of 105 suspected party thugs by soldiers, on the eve of PDP primaries in Osun/Ekiti border towns.

While the 105 suspects were said to be wielding dangerous weapons, Abutu said that the newly intercepted suspects were also caught with guns and other weapons.

Said he, “On Jan. 26, 2022, at about 1830hrs, the operatives of Ijero Divisional Police Headquarters on patrolled by the DPO sighted a Toyota Hiace Bus parked by the roadside conveying about 12 hefty men, suspected to be thugs.

“The Police operatives advanced toward the suspected men and on sighting the police, they abandoned their bus and fled into a nearby bush.

“The operatives, however, gave them a hot chase and arrested two of them.

“The abandoned Toyota Hiace bus was subsequently searched and items recovered were four single-barrel guns, one cut-to-size locally-made pistol, seven cartridges and substances suspected to be charming.”