New APC Primaries to Be Held in Bayelsa
National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said that the party will conduct a fresh governorship primary election in Bayelsa State, explaining that the exercise held on Tuesday was marred by security flaws. Oyegun, who spoke in Abuja, did not however, state the date for the fresh election. He said: “The primary has been rescheduled. It had to be called off due to security challenges.”
This came as Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, chairman of the 7-man electoral committee, yesterday dismissed the reported emergence of former governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Timipre Sylva, as the party’s governorship candidate for the December 5 election, saying no primaries took place, on Tuesday as planned because of alleged disruption of the process by hired thugs.
He alleged that members of his committee, including himself, were kidnapped and held hostage by thugs allegedly loyal to one of the governorship aspirants a former governor of the state, describing incident as unfortunate. He said: “We had the state commissioner of Police and the AIG in-charge of the zone to supervise the election, yet the exercise was messed up and that is why I believe that the police were compromised.”
Oshiomhole said his committee had since forwarded a report to the National Secretariat of APC, suggesting new date for the primaries to enable the authentic delegates to be properly accredited, in line with the guidelines of the party as used in Kogi State.
“I was the Returning Officer in that primary and I functioned as the Chairman of the Election Committee. The next person is the Secretary. Neither the Secretary nor myself announced any result and, of course, it is customary that in any election, the winner is issued a Certificate of Return. As far as I know, no such certificate was issued. So if a member of the committee purports to announce any result, that is his own funeral. That does not in any way alter the rules of the party. There is no doubt that there was no election.
“If as a governor, I had to seek the intervention of the Army, and placed under siege, I had to ask the aspirant if I was kidnapped, and if the ransom was that I conducted a primary without accreditation, then the basic requirement for a free and fair election, whether primary or popular, is that those participating must have free access for accreditation and for voting. When these are lacking, you cannot make something out of nothing. The aspirant can do anything that he has chosen to do, but that does not mean it is the due process which the party is committed to. If anybody wanted to do a shady job, they will not approach people like me and others to be part of that exercise. I cannot be used for such fraud. As someone who has fought against electoral fraud in Edo State and one that has been preaching one man, one vote, anybody who knows me well cannot contemplate allowing me to be a part of that exercise,” he added.