The First Lady of Ondo State, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has withdrawn her participation from the Imo East APC senatorial race.
Mrs Akeredolu, who is from Imo State, cited irregularities, including intimidation and use of force in the way the primaries were conducted as reasons for her withdrawal.
She had earlier on Saturday cried foul while the primary election to pick a candidate of the APC for Imo East was going on.
Mrs Anyanwu-Akeredolu alleged that some forces in the party in Imo State are bent on skewing the primaries in favour of a particular candidate.
She said the governor of the state, Hope Uzodinma, had hijacked and manipulated the delegates’ list to scheme her out of the race, a claim the governor refuted through the state’s commissioner for information.
Read her full statement of withdrawal below:
NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL FROM SENATORIAL RACE
I wish to declare my decision to withdraw from the Senatorial Primaries of Imo East Senatorial zone. This decision has become necessary following brazen irregularities, use of force and intimidation meted on my person and supporters.
I have received reliable information that arrangements have been concluded by some high authorities within the party to scheme the whole process in favour of a particular candidate. Delegates are being harrasesd and intimidated to comply with this directive.
I believe in free and fair elections, equity and level playing ground. The circumstances that have shrouded events preceding this primaries have proven to be far from these ideals which I hold so dearly.
It is expedient therefore for me to withdraw from this race which I believe is also in the interest of the party in the state.
I must, at this juncture, appreciate Ada Owere team, all my friends and supporters who stood by me during this period. Special thanks to the delegates who believed in me but were denied the opportunity to express their support.
I sincerely apologize to all those who will be disappointed by this decision. Rest assured that your belief in me is greatly appreciated.
Finally, let me affirm that I will continue to serve the good people of Imo East Senatorial zone and Imo state at large, contributing my quota to development and a fair and just society. Politics should not be a do or die affair. I had earlier stated that if I did not emerge as the standard bearer in a free and fair primary, I would throw my weight behind any of my brothers who emerged.
All I asked for was a level playing ground where delegates would be allowed to express themselves without fear and intimidation. I sincerely hope that one day, we will get it right.
Her Excellency Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu (Ada Owere)
First Lady of Ondo State
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