• National organising secretary unilaterally altered delegate list
The National Vice Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Pius Akinyelure on Thursday disclosed that the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun ignored the decision of National Working Committee (NWC) that political solution should be worked out to resolve the outcome of party’s primary in Ondo State.
Akinyelure, a NWC member, also disclosed that National Organising Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso unilaterally altered the delegate list used to conduct the September 3 governorship primary contrary to the letter and spirit of the APC constitution and Electoral Act.
He raised the allegation in a six-page statement he personally signed, providing rare insights into internal politics that culminated in the submission of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu as the APC candidate in Ondo State.
In his statement, Akinyelure alleged that Oyegun worked with the APC National Secretary, Mallam Ibrahim Bala Gubi, National Organising Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso and National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire among others to scuttle NWC’s resolve for political solution.
He, specifically, queried the power of the organising secretary to unilaterally adjustments on the delegate list, noting that he “made the adjustments without recourse or reference to the NWC. The NWC did not appraise of his actions before the primary.
“The organising secretary then issued the altered list to the Primary Election Committee for use in the conduct of the election. This altered list became available to some of the aspirants in the early hours of the Election Day when the election process was about to commence.”
The national vice chairman explicitly detailed how the NWC received both the Election Committee and the Election Appeal Committee’s reports which were tabled at the NWC meeting of September 19.
He, also, detailed how the NWC considered the reports both at its plenary and executive sessions where the secretariat was excused, pointing out that all almost all the members in attendance made contributions except Oyegun and Izunaso.
At the NWC meeting held on September 19, Akinyelure disclosed that the members expressed dismay over the alteration of the delegate list and were of the view that members “should be provided with copies of the two delegates list.
“We wanted to see the two lists so that we could authenticate the proper list for use in the conduct of a re-run primary election that will be legally acceptable to all. It was also generally observed that the opinion given by the National Legal Adviser in his Memo was wrong.”
He explained how the NWC reconvened on September 20 to consider the delegate list, noting that three delegates lists – the first list given to all aspirants; the altered list by the National Organizing Secretary and a harmonized list by Ondo APC Chairman – were circulated at the meeting.
He explained that the three lists were circulated “to members for their scrutiny in order to determine which list would be used as the authentic list consonant with the earlier decision that the delegates list compiled for the party congress of 2014 be used for the re-run Ondo governorship primary.
At the September 20 NWC meeting, Akinyelure said it was agreed that further discussion be conducted with the aspirants “to keep them abreast of the situation with a view to re-assuring them of fair play so that the outcome of the re-run election would be acceptable and credible to all.
Due to its huge volume, he said the NWC agreed that whilst members were scrutinizing the lists, Oyegun, Gubi and Izunaso be mandated “to consult some party leaders and stakeholders with a view to finding a political solution to the issue and report back to the NWC on September 22.”
When the NWC reconvened on September 22, Akinyelure explained that all members affirmed their position that the party “should send the name of an interim substitute candidate to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) while we determine the correct list for the rerun.
“We believed this was a prudent approach in that we had a clear three weeks within which the party could remove the interim candidate with the winner of the rerun primary according to INEC guidelines.”
However, Akinyelure said the National Chairman disagreed, but rather called for a vote in which six out of eleven members already “raised their hands in favour of submitting the interim substitute (popularly called a dummy), while other members raised objection as to open voting.
“In defiance of the majority opinion as reflected in the vote of 6 against 5 in favour of submission of an interim candidate in clear contemplation of a rerun primary, the National Chairman, the National Secretary and the National Organising Secretary had secretly prepared nomination documents even before the votes we had taken.
“Ignoring the vote, they submitted these documents to INEC. In doing so, they violated the spirit and the letter of our party’s controlling rules and regulations as well the democratic ideals upon which the party is founded.
“They also showed great disregard for the NWC by using our meetings as a false show of democratic practice that would cover the arbitrary and unilateral acts which their offices did not give them the power to take.”