The head of the APC electoral panel appointed to conduct the Lagos governorship primary has reversed his stance and declared Babajide Sanwo-Olu winner of the primary.
Clement Ebri, appointed by the National Working Committee of the APC, had on Tuesday evening said he was not aware any primary held in Lagos.
However, on Wednesday morning, Mr Ebri addressed a press conference in Lagos affirming the result announced by the Lagos chairman of the APC, Tunde Balogun.
Mr Balogun had during a press conference late Tuesday insisted there were primaries in the state, contrary to Mr Ebri’s position.
On Wednesday, Mr Ebri said despite the hiccups on Tuesday, the Lagos State governorship primaries committee collated the results of the 245 wards in the 20 local government areas from the collating officers.
“At the end of the exercise, the following votes were scored by the respective aspirants: one, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode 72,901 votes. The other aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-olu, scored 970,851 votes.
“Following this results, I, Clement Ebri, the chairman of the Lagos State APC Governorship Primary Committee, hereby declare Babajide Sanwo-olu the winner of that election.”
Mr. Ebri did not elaborate on why he made a u-turn on his stance of Tuesday, amidst intense politicking from party leaders in the state.
His announcement, however, marks an end to a tumultuous primary election that saw the electoral chief earlier distancing himself from the outcome of Tuesday’s voting by party members.
Thousands of APC members, including the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu, had participated in the primary election across the 20 local governments and 37 councils to elect the party’s flagbearer at the 2019 governorship election.
But as the results, which showed Mr Sanwo-olu in an unassailable lead against the incumbent governor, began to flood in; Mr Ebri shocked the state’s party members when he distanced his panel from the process.
The electoral chief said an election couldn’t have held when his panel was still expecting the aspirants to furnish them with a list of their representatives in all the wards.
“Anything that was done without the list we waited for, I can’t wait for a list for over nine hours and I didn’t see anything and you expect me to go ahead? We had a meeting with the representatives of the aspirants as early as 8 a.m. and we told them to bring lists of representatives from each LG to monitor the election on their behalf. I got names for 20 LG reps from one side and only got seven from the other side and we just got for additional eleven LG from them,” Mr Ebri had said late Tuesday afternoon.
“And you don’t expect us to go on with an election where one person is represented and the other is not. I believe what we have decided is the best. There was no election and we will communicate when materials for the election will be distributed and election conducted.”
The electoral chief’s position notwithstanding, the Lagos State APC chairman, Tunde Balogun, went ahead to announce the result of the election and declare Mr Sanwo-olu the winner on Tuesday night.
With the declaration, Governor Ambode’s chance of seeking re-election appears to have ended unless he changes political party.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who will be the APC govenrorship candidate in 2019, will face challengers from other parties for the governorship seat.
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