* Election to hold Thursday
By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wednesday made a U-turn on the issue of direct option to elect candidates for the state and National Assembly elections in 2019.
The party had on Tuesday took a decision to adopt indirect primary system contrary to the directive of its National Working Committee (NWC), the development that had led to a stalemate in the conduct of the primaries that had been held in other states.
The Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC had last week instructed that direct mode should be adopted in Ekiti. State.
Citing insecurity in the state, the Paul Omotosho-led State Working Committee, had on Monday held an emergency meeting and overruled the NWC by adopting the indirect option.
This development had sparked off violent protests, as aspirants besieged the APC secretariat in Ado Ekiti to register their disapproval with the change of option by the SWC.
The aspirants — Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Dr. Olusegun Osinkolu, Mr. Yemi Olayinka, Toyin Ajakaye and Kayode Babade — had accused the SWC of compromise and plot to impose preferred candidates by a certain leader of the party.
A source told THISDAY that: “Some leaders wanted indirect primary at all cost, but Com. Oshomhole insisted that the direct option became inevitable under this circumstance so that they can take care of all interests.
“So, we have no option than to allow all members to vote in the primary to test the popularity of the aspirants.”
A statement by the party’s State Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ade Ajayi, Wednesday said the primary has been shifted till Thursday.
Ajayi said the party would now adopt direct system and that the primary will be held across the 177 wards in the state.
He said: “The National Working Committee had humbly directed that the mode of primary will be direct and it will be held on October 4 across the 177 wards.
“We thereby enjoin all party members to participate in the exercise.”
The SWC’s approval of indirect mode of primary had led to a series of protests from contenders, which had made it impossible for the primary to be held since Tuesday.
When supporters of the aggrieved aspirants stormed the party, they removed all the flags in front of the one-storey building
Addressing journalists in Ado Ekiti on the issue, Daramola, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, accused the state executives of doing the bidding of the governor-elect, to edge them out of the primary under the flimsy excuse of indirect primaries, contrary to the decision of the national secretariat.
“It was bad for the APC that just won the governorship election to be behaving in this manner. We were supposed to be given the opportunity to test our popularity in the primaries, rather than resorting to imposition,” he said.