By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
In what appears like a showdown with Adams Oshiomole –led National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the alleged shoddy way it handled the senatorial primary in Ekiti North district of Ekiti State, an aspirant, Chief Kayode Otitoju has threatened legal action against the party if the candidate declared as winner , Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, is recognised by the party.
Adetumbi, who was said to have polled 21,763 votes in the direct primary, was declared the winner of the election conducted in Ekiti North by Dr. Ibrahim Sule-led APC Senatorial Primary Committee in the State, on Friday.
Three House of Representatives aspirants from the district; Bimbo Daramola, Bunmi Ogunleye and Femi Ajayi, had on Saturday expressed similar protest, saying the election was allegedly manipulated by the committee sent from Abuja to conduct the primary, in cahoots with politicians and security agencies.
Registering his protest at the APC party Secretariat in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the former Ekiti Information Commissioner, said there was no election in the five local government areas that constitute the district on that day, adding that the figures were concocted in Adetumbi’s favour using security agents as a cover.
Otitoju, who hailed from Odo Oro in Ikole Local Government Area (LGA), demanded that the NWC should cancel the primary or in the alternative declares him the winner on account of his unblemished track records and having come from a council that has not produced a Senator since the advent of democracy in 1999.
He explained how political thugs working for one of the aspirants had allegedly slapped and manhandled him at the party Secretariat on Friday, while making spirited efforts to lodge a complaint before the committee.
Otitoju called on the governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to rein in those who have been hiding under his influence to perpetrate electoral heist in the party, in spite of the former Minister’s insistence that he had no anointed aspirant in the primary.
“There are two options left for the party under this circumstance; it is either they order rerun of the primary by not recognising Senator Adetumbi or declare me the winner on personal recognition.
“Out of the five local governments in Ekiti North, only Ikole has not produced a Senator since 1999 and this may be an opportunity to ensure political balancing, because there was nowhere in the 56 wards where election was held, it was brazenly concocted in Adetumbi’s favour and this can’t stand.
“The electoral officers came to Ikole that day and when they heard that some people were shooting, they took cover at the Area Commander’s office and by the time normalcy returned around 4p.m., heavy rain started and the officers returned to Ado Ekiti.
“When I saw that they were going, I gave them a hot chase to our Secretariat and I lodged a complaint with the Committee’s Chairman and the State Chairman of our party, Barrister Paul Omotoso. I was even slapped by a thug for daring to stay to confront the panel. Two journalists who tried to interview me were also beaten and their phones and hipad were smashed.
“As an aspirant, I bought nomination form at the cost of N7 million at the party’s Secretariat in Abuja. 90 APC members across the five councils in our district signed for me, including 56 ward chairmen. I was duly screened and cleared for the contest and I don’t think it was right to have been treated this way.
“I have made my demands, which were clearly stated and if the party goes ahead and recognises Senator Adetumbi with that fake results, I will have no other choice than to go to court to seek redress.
“The party’s guidelines stipulated that we should seek redress using party organs, which I have done and the next stage will be going to court if the party leadership at the national fail to do what is just and right,” he explained.