Osun 2018: Aspirant appeals APC primary, says procedure faulty

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola [Photo Credit: Osun Defender]
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola [Photo Credit: Osun Defender]

Kunle Adegoke, one of the aspirants who contested the Osun governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress on Friday, has appealed the results.

The keenly contested election was won by Gboyega Oyetola, the Chief of Staff to the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, who vied against 16 other aspirants.

Although the election was violence free, there were issues on the adoption of direct primaries for the exercise instead of the usual indirect or delegates’ primaries.

Mr Adegoke in his appeal filed on Sunday before the chairman of the appeals committee, said the procedure for the election was faulty.

He said the direct primaries adopted for the exercise was not in compliance with the relevant provisions of the APC constitution.

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Mr Adegoke raised the concern of the lack of a credible register of all eligible members of the party as required for an acceptable direct primaries.

The aspirant raised 13 concerns in all which are reproduced below.

1. In the first instance, by the Constitution of All Progressives Congress, 2014 (as amended), the National Executive Committee (NEC) is the only body that can approve guidelines for conducting primary elections for purposes of nominating candidates of the party, and the extant decision of the National Executive Committee on the issue is the use of indirect primaries. This, to the best of my knowledge, has not been revisited. Yet, the leadership of our party adopted the faulty procedure of direct primaries without a NEC meeting or appropriate guidelines as required.

2. Furthermore, it requires a credible membership register to conduct a direct primary election, but which is absent today in Osun State. It is on record, and this is indisputable, that we do not have any credible register of members with requires means of proving authenticity.

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3. Assuming without conceding the possibility of adopting direct primaries, before this can be adopted, it is necessary to issue Wards’ registers of members to all aspirants who would have the opportunity to study same and confirm the authenticity thereof before any credible poll can be effectively organized. There must also be sufficient room for complaints before the poll is organized as regards anomalies that may be discovered in the registers. It is on record that no register of members was displayed until very late in the night of the 19th day of July, 2018 when voters’ registers were brought in boxes and only one set of registers (from the boxes) was merely shown to aspirants present at the State Party Secretariat in Osogbo without any form of verification. The same registers were sent out in the morning of 20 July, 2018 for the election.

4. It is the law and the convention that no political party would go into any election without having been given voters’ registers that would be used for and prior to the election. This equally applies to aspirants who are to contest the primary election as there ought to be exhibition of membership registers in order to fish out illegal insertions or emergency members manufactured by powers that be.

5. It is only in our party, APC, that less than five days to the primary election, some people were attempting to impose ‘a shift in the goal post in the middle of the game’ without credible guidelines having been put in place and without any notice whatsoever to other stakeholders. Until less than 16 hours to the election, the leadership of our party did not consult any aspirant as to the mode by which the primary election would be conducted.

6. In addition, electoral officers to conduct such primary election for each Ward ought not to be appointed by the current Party/government officials in Osun who had openly shown their bias for a particular aspirant. Contrary to the principles of independence of electoral officers, all presiding officers were nominees of the State Government who had mandated them to ensure the emergence of a particular aspirant which instruction was carried out to the letter.

7. No valid registers of members were produced for the conduct of the said primary election and in most Wards in the State, no election was conducted using a register of members.

8. In many Wards, no register of members was brought to regulate the conduct of the election. For instance, in Ward 03 of Olorunda Local Government, Osogbo, where I registered as a member, we have 10 polling units but a register for one polling unit was produced leaving the remaining 9 polling units without registers. Thus, all members of the party registered in the remaining 9 Polling Units, including me (an aspirant), could not vote as a result of lack of registers. The only register of one polling unit, Akogun Maternity Polling Unit produced, contained no names of most members present and hence no election was held.

9. No register of members was brought to Wards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 11 of Olorunda Local Government and hence no voting took place, yet results were produced for those Wards. Equally, no registers and other materials were brought to Wards 9, 10 and 11 of Boripe Local Government and no voting took place. Similarly, no voting took place in Iperindo, Atakumosa East Local Government as no supervising officials, let alone election materials surfaced throughout the place. The same scenario occurred in Wards 9, 10 and 11 of Boripe Local Government. We are not sure if results were produced for those Wards.

10. No election was held in Ward 7 of Osogbo Local Government as members fought and stoned one another thereby dispersing the huge crowd that was there without any voting whatsoever. Yet, an illegal result was produced for the Ward. The above specific Wards are just a few that time and space could permit as we shall be willing to produce more evidence at the hearing of this appeal.

11. It is contended that where registers were produced at all, the registers produced for the conduct of the election were not membership registers but rather INEC registers of general voters which contained names of all registered voters, non-members of APC inclusive. It would be recalled that the Chairman of the Electoral Committee directed that members could vote with ordinary Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) where they had no membership cards or slips. This allowed non-members of APC to vote as no accreditation was carried out to ascertain members of APC.

12. In all wards of the state, vote buying was the order of the day as agents came with huge amounts of money soliciting for votes and the voters voted based on amounts offered by the aspirants. We refused to partake in the vote bazaar, as it is illegal and destructive of our political future.

13. There was no accreditation of voters before voting in most Wards of the various Local Governments. Equally, our agents and supporters were threatened, intimidated, beaten and bullied in Atakumosa West, Atakumosa East, Boripe, Ilesha East and several other Local Governments. In many Wards, figures were merely concocted and allocated to aspirants without any form of election having been carried out.

We shall appreciate a quick consideration of our concerns raised above in order to ensure greater adherence to the principles of democracy in our state.

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