The Chairman of Ekiti State Governorship Primary Election Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Governor of Jigawa, Abubakar Badaru, has said that contrary to media reports, all the governorship aspirants participated in the just concluded primary election in the state ahead of the June 18 governorship election.
It would be recalled that seven aspirants expected to participate in Thursday’s governorship primary of the party, boycotted the race over allegations of fraud and manipulation of the process in favour of the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, believed to be the anointed candidate of Governor Kayode Fayemi, and eventual winner of the election.
But addressing journalists after submitting the results of the primary election at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja yesterday, Badaru revealed that elections in 11 wards were disrupted during the exercise.
He, however, added that the results of the 11 wards were cancelled, but assured that the cancelled results had no capacity to upset the outcome of the election
Badaru stated: “We have submitted the results sheets and reports where they were conducted, 166 wards. 11 wards were disrupted and we cancelled those areas but in 166, people actively participated. And I think you all have the videos of what transpired in all the 166 wards except the 11. Even the 11 that had crisis, I am sure you have seen the videos.”
The governor insisted that none of the aspirants boycotted the exercise as reported in the media.
He added: “That is absolutely not true. We landed on the 26th. I had meetings with all the aspirants and seven attended out of eight. And we discussed the guidelines and we agreed on all the terms.
“What they were alleging probably that party members loyal to the governor were chosen to serve as returning officers in various wards and local governments. And they raised that at the meeting. And I asked them, the guidelines is to use the party people to do the job?
“We cannot hire or take people that are not from the party. But they can also give us 20 each from the party people that they believed will do justice to them. And they provided those 20 lists which we incorporate into returning officers. And this was communicated in the early morning to them because they sent their own list very late and that was what even delayed us that night.
“But we managed to incorporate all the 20 people each they sent to us to participate also in the exercise. But you can see from what happened that they are supposed to have agents in all the 177 wards. And these 11 wards that the primaries were disrupted were wards that had relationships with most of the aspirants. So, you can see if they have that power, to stop the congress, they could have done it also in the 166 wards.”
Badaru noted that unlike what happened in the Anambra governorship election, what Oyebanji got was realistic.
According to him, “You can see the numbers. The winner got 101,000 votes out of 180,000 registered members. So it is a very realistic fact. It is only 60-65 per cent membership that comes out to vote which is very realistic. And for those of you that have been there on the field, you have gone round ward by ward by yourselves that it is actually people.”
Badaru said before the election, he assured all the aspirants that he would never receive a result written where people have not participated in the process, saying that was the main reason why 11 wards cannot be returned to him.