By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Appeal Committee on Edo Governorship Primaries, Opeyemi Bamidele has said that the panel would subject the ballot papers used for the party primaries to both manual and forensic inspection.
When asked whether the committee can annul the primaries, Opeyemi said: “If it is true that the integrity of the ballot papers has been compromised, then definitely there is no way the result of such primary election can stand”.
Speaking while presenting a preliminary report of the panel to the national leadership of the party in Abuja on Friday, Opayemi said the need to embark on a thorough investigation of the processes adopted in the governorship primaries was to ensure the integrity of the entire process.
He told the party leadership that the Appeal committee would require more time to conclude its assignment in view of the need to fully address all the issues raised by the petitioners.
“It is not about the number of petitioners we have, just two out of twelve, but it is about the issues they raise, a lot of the issues are very weighty, very sensitive issues that could not be swept under the carpet.
“Some of the issues for instance has to do with the integrity of the ballot papers that were used to conduct the primaries in Benin City and as far as we are concern, we felt that there is no way we could conclude this and submit a report to the party without having to do some manual inspection and possible forensic analysis of the ballot papers if justice on this matter would be done.
“It is not just about these petitioners who are making the allegation, it is also about the integrity of the entire process and more so in a matter of few weeks as the party would also be going to Ondo State to also carry out governor primaries and thereafter in some other state and we feel that the issues of integrity of our electoral process is one that should be consider very seriously and today we have come here to explain our position to the leadership of the party.
“We have met with the National Organising Secretary and of course both the National Organising Secretary and the National Chairman of the party who also have been in consultation with other members of the National Working Committee of the party have agreed to extend the time, you know, the deadline for us to submit this report till next week,” he said.