An Osun State All Progressive Party (APC) governorship aspirant, Kunle Adegoke, Thursday, alleged the party’s primary election was postponed to enable some officials manipulate it.
But the chairman of the committee saddled with conducting the shadow poll, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, has assured that the exercise will be transparent.
The party on Thursday announced the postponement by 24 hours of its primary election for the nomination of its candidate for the September 22 governorship election in the state.
Reacting to the announcement, in an interview with TVC Thursday morning, Mr Adegoke said ”the people behind the postponement are attempting a manipulation.
”They want to use it to favor a particular aspirant of their choice, somebody that is an anointed aspirant of their choice. And the reason they are doing this is that they are saying we should go to the entire populace,” the aspirant said.
Mr Adegoke said although he had no problem with the postponement, the party leadership failed to follow the provisions of the party’s constitution in making the shift.
“I don’t have any problem with that. There are certain things you must comply with. The membership register that would be used to conduct the election must be made known to everybody,” he said.
Mr Adegoke explained that under the law, a voter register used for an election should be displayed ahead of time, adding that APC should have given a seven-day notification for the election.
”Under the Electoral law, I am an electoral petition lawyer, and the position of the law is that a voters register that would be used for an election must be displayed ahead of time, under the electoral law,” he said.
”Every party, I am sure APC, allows seven days; an average party including APC would not agree to go into an election without a voters register having been displayed in all the polling units all over the constituencies seven days before that election, so that the people who are going to vote would be able to check if their names are there or not. And if people don’t have their names there, they would be able to register there complaints,” Mr Adegoke said.
He further said a supplementary list should have been displayed before the election, stating that the ruling party does not have a digitised members register.
”That is why we often have supplementary voters list that would be displayed before the election. We have not yet seen members register. In APC we don’t have a digitised members register; there is none. We don’t have. That is why it is a very porous system they are bringing in now, so they would be able to manipulate the process.
”We have 17 aspirants that have been cleared. I know of one who said he could not buy the forms because he knew they were going to manipulate it, ” the aggrieved aspirant said.
Also in the interview, Mr Adegoke said the opposition Peoples Democratic Party had announced its voters register and delegates two weeks back.
”In PDP, more than two weeks ago, they had given them their members voters register, the delegates list that they are going to use. They have announced everything ahead. Over there, they know the meaning of constitutionalism, they know the reason why they must comply with the system.”
Asked by his interviewer if he would participate in Friday exercise, Mr Adegoke said he would.
”Yes i would participate in tomorrow’s exercise. I want to show to the whole world the manipulation they are going to do, the result that would come from the majority of the polling centres would be different from the result they have concocted. Right now. they have concocted result.
Asked to prove the allegation, Mr Adegoke said, ” I have insiders there who inform us regularly on what they are doing, i would not disclose my source.”
Asked if he would meet the committee chairman set up by the APC, Mr Yari, to tell him of his allegations, Mr Adegoke said he would.
“I will tell him of all these allegations because he was not elected to be governor with such a porous procedure. He became governor under a system that was transparent, that is why he has not been removed by the court. Otherwise, the Supreme Court would have thrown him out of office.”
Mr Adegoke vowed to go to court if the party uses “this faulty procedure” for the nomination.
The party’s spokesperson, Bolaji Abdulliah, however, told PREMIUM TIMES through a telephone interview that the election was postponed for logistics reasons.
”Maybe you should speak to the electoral committee, but to the best of my knowledge, the election was postponed because of logistics reasons,” he said.
Asked what the logistics reasons were, Mr Abdullahi said, ”When you want to conduct an election you would have to print out ballot papers, collate documents, get the list ready.
”And when the chairman of the electoral committee checked yesterday that they would need another 24 hours to put all in place, so it is only for that reason why it was postponed, ” he added.
Spokesperson of the governor of Zamfara state, Ibrahim Dosara, also told PREMIUM TIMES the reason for the postponement was to aid better transparency in the electoral process.
“It is normal for people to have complaints, it is democracy. It is the intention of INEC and the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to make everything transparent as far as election is concerned in Nigeria. So nobody is trying to manipulate anything,” he said.
He said the reason why the National Executive Committee of the party was called on Thursday was to demonstrate to all the aspirants that the election cannot be manipulated ”
”It is the party’s intentions to make it free and fair. There is nothing like intention to manipulate the election. The APC promised that on no account should anybody be manipulated,” he said.
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