The All Progressives Congress governorship primaries held on Thursday deepened the crises in the party’s state chapters as some factions held parallel congresses while others boycotted the polls entirely.
Some aspirants in Ogun, Lagos, Rivers, and Ebonyi states in separate interviews, faulted the delegate lists used for the primaries.
While opposing factions in Akwa Ibom State held parallel primaries, aggrieved aspirants and party chieftains boycotted the shadow elections in Rivers, Sokoto and Delta states.
Some of the aspirants threatened legal actions and warned the party against any action that could lead to the nullification of the primaries.
The ruling party is currently battling crises in states including Rivers, Ogun, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Osun, and Sokoto where factions are battling for supremacy.
It was earlier reported that factions of party in some states rejected the election of delegates for the governorship primaries, alleging that the exercise was hijacked by governors and ministers.
Abe shuns Rivers primary, says exercise skewed, biased, vows to challenge result
Before the commencement of the Rivers State APC primary in Port Harcourt on Thursday, a governorship aspirant, Magnus Abe, who is leading a faction opposed to the one headed by a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, withdrew from the exercise.
Abe’s ally and former Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House, Tony Okocha, in a statement, described the process as skewed and biased.
The statement reads, “I have been receiving a myriad of calls from our colleagues concerning the National Assembly and governorship primaries of our darling party, the APC.
“Please kindly take this as an official statement that we are not participating in an already skewed, biased, and prejudiced process in Rivers.”
Later on Thursday evening, Abe denied a report that he had dumped the APC.
He, however, vowed to challenge the outcome of the indirect primary mode adopted by the Amaechi faction.
He stated, “Everybody knows that in a delegate election if you’re not included in how the delegates are chosen; if the process of choosing the delegates is not inclusive; if it is not transparent and not fair, the outcome of what the delegates will do is not expected to be any different from the process that produced them.
“Like I said at the beginning of this whole thing when I declared, I said I will not just accept the outcome of any process that is not just, fair, equitable and inclusive.
“The indirect primary being conducted today (Thursday) by the former Minister of Transportation and his cronies in the APC in Rivers State does not meet that standard.
“ And for that reason, while I have decided not to withdraw out of respect for the party, I want to say clearly that I will not accept the outcome nor will I be bound by it,” Abe stated.
The State APC Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, who is in Amaechi’s camp, said that Abe’s political sojourn would soon end.
Tonye Cole, a Lagos-based businessman, and ally of Amaechi won the primary. Cole polled a total of 986 votes to defeat Ojukaye Flag Amachree, Seconte Davies, Ibinabo West, and Benrard Mikko, who scored 190, 47, 43 and two to come a distant second, third and fourth respectively.
Abiodun wins in Ogun, two aspirants accuse chairman of bias
In Ogun State, two aggrieved aspirants, Adekunle Akinlade and Biyi Otegbeye, complained of being sidelined, claiming that the delegate list was not made public before the commencement of the election.
The aspirants said they would participate in the primary because of their loyalty and respect for the leadership of the party.
Both Akinlade and Otegbeye, said this on Thursday in a press statement they jointly signed, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent.
Both aspirants are loyalists of a former Governor of the State, Ibikunle Amosun, who is opposed to the incumbent Governor, Dapo Abiodun.
The aspirants said a formal complaint had been sent to the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
While faulting the choice of the chairman of the election committee, Wale Ohu, Akinlade, and Otegbeye recalled that it was the same man who conducted the wards, local government, and state congresses of the party in the state.
They added that the three congresses he conducted ended in controversies and according to them worsened the crisis within the party in the state.
They alleged that only one aspirant collected all the delegate forms in the state.
“Against this background, we wish to inform your Excellency that we have no confidence in the choice of Chairman of the election panel and have fears and reservations about the list of delegates to be used for the exercise,”
Later on Thursday, the chairman declared the incumbent governor winner of the primary held at the MKO Abiola Stadium Abeokuta.
The governor in his acceptance speech, described the election as a victory for the people of the state
The state chapter of the party, in a statement by its spokesperson, Tunde Oladunjoye, urged other aspirants to accept the result of the primary.
He stated, “Only one person can occupy the seat of a governor at a time. We, therefore, urge loyal party members to cooperate with the winner.”
Oladunjoye described the victory of Abiodun as “a deserved vote of confidence in the state’s helmsman for the peace and progress he has brought to the state since he assumed office on May 29, 2019.”
Sokoto aspirants shun primary, warn APC against nullification, say party’s action risky
Two aspirants, Senator Abubakar Gada and Balarabe Salame at a press conference in Sokoto, warned the party against a repeat of the 2019 incident in Zamfara State in Sokoto State.
In 2019, the Supreme Court sacked the APC candidate, Muktar Idris, who won the governorship poll, and declared Bello Matawalle of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate winner.
On Thursday, Gada and Salame insisted on a direct primary to elect the Sokoto State governorship candidate of the APC.
The aspirants said anything done contrary to the request might spell doom for the party, saying such an exercise could not stand the test of the law.
They stated, “The Chairman (the national chairman) should recall that only a few days to the primaries a pronouncement was made by the Sokoto Federal High Court with a confused pronouncement that is neither here nor there.
“Consequently, to put the party in a strong position, six out of seven aspirants formally requested direct primary as contained in the electoral act 2022 as amended”
“We however vowed to be on the side of the law by deciding to keep away from the charade about to take place in the Sokoto State APC.
“We make bold to submit that whatever happens in the course of this so-called exercise cannot stand the text of the law, thereby putting the state chapter at the highest risk of nullification.”
All efforts to speak to the chairman of the party in the state, Isa Sadiq Acida, were not successful as calls to his phone were not answered as of the time of sending this report.