PDP Aspirants in Kogi Kick against Non-conduct of Primary Election in Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu

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Hamid Adedeji

Nine aspirants seeking the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent the people of Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency of Kogi State in the House of Representatives have kicked against the non-conduct of primary election in the area.

They have therefore, called on the leadership of the main opposition party in the state to conduct a free, fair, transparent and credible primary election to enable a candidate emerge that will truly reflect the wishes and aspirations of majority of delegates.

In a protest letter obtained by THISDAY, the aspirants noted that in view of what they described as the contrived confusion foisted on the aspirants and party loyalists as it affect the primary election in the area, it has become pertinent to avail the party leadership and constituents an update and point out the dire consequences of not conducting the primary election.

The letter, which was signed by Salman Idris, Sunday Adeleye, Okesuji Obatoyinbo, and Hon. Taiwo Nathaniel, stated that nine aspirants were screened, cleared and were eligible to participate in the primary election scheduled for October 3.

“Aspirants and delegates converged on Prestige Hotel, Kabba, the designated venue for the election on the said date. Delegates and aspirants waited 16 hours from 8 a.m to 12 midnight but did not see party officials assigned to conduct the exercise and no justifiable reason was communicated for their absence and inability to conduct the primary election. Delegates and aspirants dispersed after information was received that the primary election has been shifted to 7 a.m. on October 4, 2018 for security considerations in view of the time to avoid apprehension

“At about 1.30 a.m. news filtered out that party officials led by Kogi State PDP Publicity Secretary, Bode Ogunmola, were at the venue conducting accreditation of delegates. Only seven out of 337 delegates were on ground at the time other aspirants arrived the venue with delegates they were able to contact,” the aspirants said in their protest letter.

“This attempted electoral heist was rebuffed with protests and when Hon. TJ Yusuf realised the ploy was not going to fly, the thugs that came with him started sporadic shooting to ensure the primary election did not hold. This forced the officials to abscond on the premise of insecurity and alleged threats to their lives. Incident was reported at Kabba Divisional Police Headquarters where it was confirmed that the Police and other security agencies were not invited to provide security coverage for the event,” the group added.

The aspirants alleged that after the mayhem Yusuf aborted the primary election and published that he has won the primary election.

The group, however, noted that the online publication to this effect was retracted after the blogger realised he was misled as there can be no winner or loser in a contest that never held

The protest letter also revealed that when confronted on October 4, 2018 in Lokoja, Ogunmola, who is also the Returning Officer for the election confirmed there was no election for Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency

“What played out was a sinister plot, to criminally conduct a kangaroo primary election in the absence of other aspirants by deliberately appearing after midnight thinking other aspirants will not know. There was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise 330 delegates. There is an obvious collaboration between one aspirant and obviously compromised party officials saddled with the responsibility of conducting the primary election to confer unfair advantage on a particular aspirant to the detriment of other aspirants. The deliberate evasive disposition of Bode Ogunmola that has made conduct of the primary election impossible is a ploy to run down the clock considering the expiration of submission of party’s candidates to INEC,” the aspirants explained.

The group alleged that the purported primary election was a deliberate attempt to foist Hon. T. J Yusuf on the people of the constituency by tactically ensuring the primary election did not hold.

The aspirants urged the leadership of PDP to conduct of a free, fair, transparent and credible primary election for the constituency to enable a candidate emerge.

They also called for a reconstitution of a new Election Committee comprising persons of impeccable character to conduct the primary election during the day, as well as the provision of adequate security for the primary election to deter those who might intend to unleash mayhem and disrupt the exercise

‘Urgent decisive and punitive actions should be taken against the perpetrators of the attempted midnight electoral robbery,” the aspirants added.