A purported move to grant automatic consensus candidature to some returning All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in Edo State ahead of the 2019 general election has been rejected by aspirants from the state.

Speaking with journalists during the ongoing APC screening exercise in Abuja, Hon. Adaze Wilson Imafidon, one of the aspirants for the Orhionmwon/Uhumwonde Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives, described the move as “fraudulent and illegal”.

In controversial circumstances, the APC Chapter of Orhionmwon Local Government Area had announced consensus candidacies for three returning lawmakers — Patrick Aisowieren (Orhionmwon/Uhumwonde Federal Constituency), Nosayaba Okunbor (Orhionmwon East Constituency) and Roland Asoro (Orhionmwon South Constituency).

Imafidon said the decision was in brazen disregard of the September 11, 2018 procedure for nomination of candidates/conditions for consensus candidature issued by the APC National Working Committee and reaffirmed by the Edo State Chapter ahead of legislative primaries scheduled for next month.

He said: “Recall that the National Working Committee, in its directive/clarification on the procedure for nominating candidates, stated that while consensus is provided for by the party’s constitution, the option is conditional. Consensus does not foreclose direct or indirect primaries for all elective positions. The NWC stated clearly that consensus will apply when no other aspirant signifies interest, for example, through purchase of nomination forms for the position in question.

“As you can see, aspirants from Edo state, particularly the Orhionmwon/Uhumwonde axis, are being screened. We are all very much in the race. How can a group of people converge on a room, tag themselves stakeholders, excluding aspirants, and announce automatic consensus candidature for returning lawmakers? The decision is dead on arrival. We will surely resist this fraud and illegality.

“Unpopular aspirants who have woefully represented us during their first term in the House of Representatives cannot hide under illegal consensus to retain their seat. The Edo electorate are not foolish; they demand quality representation at all levels. We must all go for primaries and test our acceptance and popularity.

“We hereby draw the attention of the party’s national leadership under the chairmanship of H.E. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to this fraud and illegality being perpetuated by the Orhiomwon chapter of our great party.”

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