The contest by politicians for party nominations is expected to be a family affair, as members of the same political leaning seek tickets to represent the party at the general poll. However, the last primary elections conducted by the two major political parties in the country have been anything but civil. In some places, deaths were recorded from the violence witnessed during the primaries while parallel exercises were held in other places.
In Lagos State, two aspirants – Wale Oluwo, a former commissioner and Mr Abdul-Ahmed Mustapha, a former permanent secretary in the state – were prevented from attending the governorship primary election at Mobolaji Johnson Arena (Onikan Stadium). The chairman of the APC Electoral Committee/Returning Officer in the state, Alhaji Adamu Yuguda, said the aspirants were disqualified by the APC screening committee, thereby leaving incumbent Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the sole aspirant in what was expected to be a three-horse race.
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The aspirants, who got the nomination forms for a whopping N50m each, are calling for the cancellation of the exercise. They were screened on May 14 but were not informed of their disqualification until the primary exercise on May 26.
In the PDP, it was not better either as four of the six governorship aspirants withdrew before the commencement of the exercise over accusation of doctored delegates’ list. One of the aspirants who withdrew from the race and PDP governorship candidate in 2011, Ade Dosumu, has moved to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
The Lagos State chapter of PDP urged the party’s National Working Committee to cancel the House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries conducted by the party.
The PDP chairman in Lagos State, Phillips Aivoji, who addressed a news conference alongside other state executives and party leaders in Ikeja, said the ad hoc delegates’ list brought by the electoral committees for both primaries were compromised.
The party produced two governorship candidates in Ogun State while the third contestant, Jimi Lawal, has demanded for another primary to be conducted.
Lawal threatened legal action if the party failed to investigate the allegation, cancel the primary and order for another, pointing out that the delegates list used at the primary was fake.
A former member of the House of Representatives from Remo Federal Constituency, Oladipupo Adebutu and the 2019 spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, Segun Showunmi emerged at the two primaries.
Adekunle Akinlade and Biyi Otegbeye, who contested the APC governorship primaries in Ogun, faulted the delegates’ list and the appointment of Wale Ohu as the chairman for the exercise, thus rejecting the poll that returned Gov. Dapo Abiodun as the candidate of the party.
In Osun State, supporters of a former governor of the state and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, are calling for the cancellation of the national/state assemblies primaries over alleged malpractices.
Following the crisis from the conduct of PDP primaries in Ebonyi State, the NWC of the party approved the cancellation of all the party’s primaries in the state.
Over voting was recorded in Oyo South Senatorial rerun primary election of the APC. A total of 489 votes were cast, whereas the number of delegates was 488.
Assassination, thuggery, victimisation
A member of the House of Representatives from Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency, Honourable Shina Peller, who contested for Oyo North senatorial ticket of APC, said there was a plot to assassinate him during the primaries in Oyo State.
Peller, who lost the ticket to Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, accused the governorship candidate of the party in the state, Senator Teslim Folarin, as the alleged mastermind of the attempted assassination plot.
Although Senator Folarin has denied the allegation, pointing accusing fingers at Gov. Seyi Makinde of plotting to malign his integrity, the spokesman of Oyo PDP, Akeem Olatunji, has urged security agents, especially the police, to investigate the senator over the alleged assassination attempt on Peller’s life.
The first lady of Ondo State and APC senatorial aspirant for Imo East, Betty Akeredolu, was forced to withdraw from the race over allegations of intimidation by the leadership of the party in the state.
“This decision has become necessary following brazen irregularities, use of force and intimidation meted out on my person and supporters,” she said.
Disruptions of the exercise were also witnessed in most of the states in the region. Some of the disruptions led to deaths and injuries.
No fewer that three persons were killed during the conduct of the primaries in Lagos. In a viral video, thugs were seen engaging in a free-for-all wielding weapons at Ikotun-Igando Local Council Development Area secretariat during the APC House of Representatives primaries in the area.
In Bayelsa, Michael Isaiah, nicknamed ‘Tompolo’, was reportedly shot dead at the PDP’s primary for Constituency One in Ogbia LGA.
In Delta, gunmen shot sporadically at the venue of the primaries in Isoko constituency, forcing party members, delegates and security operatives to scurry for cover.
In Ibadan North-East/Ibadan South-East Federal Constituency for the House of Representatives, some of the aspirants said hoodlums chased them away from the venue of the primary election at Orita Aperin area of Ibadan.
In Osun, delegates were allegedly abducted, according to PDP South West Zonal Youth Leader, Seyi Bamidele, who contested for the Boluwaduro/Ifedayo/Ila Federal Constituency.
“The whole exercise has been marred with anomalies. Some delegates that were to vote in the House of Assembly primary for an aspirant for Ifedayo State Constituency PDP ticket held at Iya ni o se Hall, Oke Ila were abducted. They were later released after the exercise had been completed,” he said.
Media scholar and political analyst, Dr. Tunde Akanni blamed the desperation of politicians on the desire for accumulation of material gains from the office, instead of service to the people.
“Money is the root of all evils; I dare echo philosophers. In other words, if candidates believe in truth and fairness, they are not likely to subscribe to heavy monetisation as we witnessed. The simple signal from the spectacle of shame we call primaries is that they’re all too ambitious to mortgage the rest of us, indeed, foreclosing any future for the country. It’s therefore up to us all to rediscover our traditional values which never attached so much importance to money,” he said