Badaru insists Ekiti APC primary was free, fair
•Let’s Be Mindful Of Our Actions, Adeleke Tells Co-aspirants
Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State has faulted seven of the aggrieved governorship aspirants that boycotted the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election won by Mr. Biodun Oyebanji.
Badaru, who chaired the panel that conducted the primary election last Thursday, maintained that the outcome of the exercise was a reflection of the wishes of supporters of the party in the state.
This is even as a frontline governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, yesterday, called on his fellow governorship hopefuls to take the contest like a sporting race, which shouldn’t breed enmity.
The aggrieved APC aspirants comprising Otunba ‘Demola Popoola, Kayode Ojo, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Oluwatoyin Afolabi, Olufemi Bamishile, Bamidele Faparusi and Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, had alleged that the exercise was fraudulent, adding that it was manipulated to favour Oyebanji, the alleged anointed candidate of Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Although the aggrieved aspirants had called on the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee of the party to cancel the exercise, Badaru, who spoke with reporters at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja after submitting the result sheets of the exercise, dismissed the claims by the aggrieved aspirants.
He said: “That is absolutely not true. We landed on the 26th. I had meetings with all the aspirants and seven attended out of eight. And we discussed the guidelines and we agreed on all the terms.
“What they are alleging was that party members loyal to the governor were chosen to serve as returning officers in various wards and local governments. And they raised that at the meeting. And I told them that the guideline is to use the party people to do the job. We cannot hire or take people that are not from the party. But they can also give us 20 each from the party; people that they believed would do justice to them. And they provided those 20, which we incorporate into returning officers. And this was communicated in the early morning to them because they sent their own list very late and that was what even delayed us that night.
“But we managed to incorporate all the 20 people each they sent to us to participate in the exercise. But you can see from what happened that they were supposed to have agents in all the 177 wards. And these 11 wards that the primaries were disrupted were wards that had relationship with most of the aspirants. So, you can see that if they had that power to stop the congress, they could have done it also in the 166 wards.”
Continuing, he said: “You can see the numbers. The winner got 101,000 votes out of 180,000 registered members.”
So, it is a very realistic fact. It is only 60-65 per cent membership that comes out to vote, which is very realistic.
“Before the election, I promised the aspirants that I would never receive a result written where people have not participated in the process. And that was why the 11 wards could not be returned to me because I knew there was violence and election didn’t take place. That was why I cancelled them.”
Adeleke said his decision to give the Osun governorship seat another trial was people-driven, noting that he was not afraid to face delegates at the primary election slated for March 7.
A statement issued by the Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation quoted the former senator as reacting to the report of the PDP Appeal Screening Panel, which cleared him to contest the governorship primaries.
While expressing appreciation to the committee and the national leadership of the party for standing by truth and justice, Adeleke restated his commitment to rescue Osun from bad governance that the ruling APC has allegedly plunged it into.