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Ondo Governorship Election: All Progressives Congress National Exco Reaffirms Legitimacy Of Primaries

The National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has restated that the primary held September 4, 2016 to choose the party’s flag bearer in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State was legitimate. Rotimi Akeredolu emerged winner of the party’s primary, beating Olusegun Abraham who was backed by Bola Tinubu, the APC’s national leader.

In a statement issued today and signed by its national secretary, Mai Mala Buni, the APC secretariat dismissed as false a report in the Nation newspaper of today titled “Oyegun overrules NWC on Ondo Appeal Panel’s report”.  Mr. Tinubu owns the newspaper.

Earlier, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) had on September 20, 2016 rejected a controversial recommendation by the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee to invalidate the primary. In its press release today, the APC secretariat remarked that the decision to reject the appeal committee’s report was made “in executive session after careful and exhaustive deliberation. The minutes and rejection was confirmed by the NWC on Thursday, September 22, 2016.”

In its four-point resolution, the NWC stated that the appeal committee’s recommendation “was fundamentally and fatally flawed.” Today’s statement by the party accused the committee of contradicting itself “when it admitted that the Primary Election Committee substantially complied with the rules guiding the process but still proceeded to recommend the nullification of the Primary election.”   

The statement said the appeal committee had failed to invite the National Secretariat to authenticate the source of the disputed delegates list, and did not invite the chairman or members of the Ondo State Governorship Primary Election Committee to speak on the allegation of manipulation of the accreditation process. Instead, the appeal committee “relied on unsubstantiated evidence(s) to recommend the nullification of the Primary,” the party stated.

In addition, the NWC observed that a serious contradiction in the appeal committee’s report regarding the number of the accredited delegates. “Whereas the Primary Election Committee’s report indicated that 2,774 delegates were accredited, the Appeal Committee’s report erroneously recorded it as those who voted in the election, thereby creating a false impression of over voting in the exercise,” the party noted in today’s statement. It clarified that the “actual total number of votes cast was 2,754, according to Primary Election Committee’s report.”

The APC secretariat declared that the question of fresh primaries “did not arise as NWC had already rejected the Appeal Committee’s report in view of the stated flaws and upheld the election. In any case, the Election was time barred. By the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all governorship primary and issues relating to it ended on September 19, 2016,” adding that the NWC had rejected the appeal committee’s report.