Primaries: Buhari in closed-door meeting with El-Rufai, Akeredolu

Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu, Olalekan Adetayo and Peter Dada

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday held a closed-door meeting with two state governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

They are Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai; and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu.

The meeting was held amidst growing controversies over the conduct of the party’s primaries and the screening of party aspirants across the country.

In Kaduna State, the party’s National Working Committee disqualified El-Rufai’s anointed candidate, Uba Sani, in the race for the Kaduna Central District.

The party leadership returned the incumbent, Shehu Sani, unopposed.

The governor and Sani have not been on the same page politically since the inception of the administration.

Their disagreement got to its peak recently when Sani, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, used his position to ensure that the Senate rejected the state’s loan request.

It is believed that the party leadership compensated Sani with automatic for not defecting from the party like his colleagues from the state did.

A similar scenario is playing out in Ondo State where Senator Ajayi Boroffice was returned unopposed.

Boroffice is also not on the same page with Akeredolu.

The two state governors, however, did not speak with journalists after their meeting with the governor. They left the Presidential Villa through another route.

Court restrains APC in Kaduna central

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State High Court on Wednesday restrained the APC  from conducting the primary to select the party’s candidate for the Kaduna Central Senatorial District.

The court made the order in its ruling on an ex-parte motion in a suit filed by an APC senatorial aspirant for the district, Uba Sani.

The respondents in the suit include the APC, its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole; the Independent National Electoral Commission and Sani.

The court ordered the APC, its chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, INEC and Sani to maintain the status-quo prior to October 2, 2018.

The court orders read, “Leave is hereby granted the plaintiff/applicant to issue and serve the writ of summons in this suit out of Kaduna State and on the first, second, and third defendants in the FCT, Abuja and to mark same as concurrent writ of summons.

“Parties are hereby ordered to maintain the status-quo prior to October 2, 2018 materially to the conduct of primary elections to elect candidate of the first defendants for the Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone (Zone 2) of Kaduna State pending the hearing and determination of the motion on the notice already filed.”

Protesters storm APC secretariat

Also, in the Federal Capital Territory, angry members of the APC from the six area councils stormed the party’s national secretariat on Wednesday to protest against the direct primary mode imposed on them.

The protesters demanded the reversal of the direct primary mode imposed on the FCT by the party’s NWC.

Some of the protesters displayed placards with inscriptions such as, ‘We Want Indirect Primary,’ ‘Oshiomhole Stay Clear of FCT Primary,’ and ‘Oshiomhole Destroying APC.’

On learning that there were no party executives to receive them, the crowd became unruly.

In the melee that ensued, the protesters tore down a giant billboard which had the portrait of President Muhammadu Buhari and Oshiomhole after barricading access to the party secretariat and chasing away workers and security operatives on duty.

The protesters also accused the party leadership of trying to impose candidates on them.

The Commissioner of Police in charge of the FCT, Bala Ciroma led a team of police reinforcements to calm frayed nerves.

The spokesperson for the group, Usman Karshi, said they were protesting against the alleged injustice and attempt to impose candidates on party members in the FCT.

He said, “We are here to make it clear to Mr Oshiomhole that we are comrades and that is why we elected him as chairman, so we are appealing to his sense of reason. He should be reasonable and give us what we want. FCT APC rejects direct primary in the FCT.”

He said that the FCT APC must be allowed to exercise its right of choice in choosing indirect mode of primary election as approved by the NEC of the party.

Disqualified aspirants kick in Ondo

In Ondo State, some disqualified senatorial aspirants on Wednesday asked the APC NWC to rescind its decision within 24 hours.

The aspirants also asked Oshiomhole to resign if the decision of the NWC was not reversed.

Some of the senatorial aspirants are a human rights lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi; the state representative on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa;  a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Victor Olabimtan;  Dr Felder Olatunji, Mr Morayo Lebi and Odunayo Akinrinsola. They were disqualified by the NWC on Tuesday.

The three serving senators that were given the automatic tickets of the party are Senator Ajayi Boroffice ( Ondo North), Senator Tayo Alasoadura ( Ondo Central) and Senator Yele Omogunwa (Ondo South)

Abayomi, who spoke for the aspirants in Akure, the state capital, said Oshiomhole was working towards the total collapse of the APC.

Abayomi stated that giving automatic tickets to incumbent senators was not democratic.

He said “We, the aspirants of the APC in Ondo State, purportedly not cleared to contest, hereby reject the so called decision of the NWC. There is nothing like automatic tickets in a constitutional democracy. The NWC should rescind the decision or Oshiomhole should resign.”

One of the cleared senators, Alasoadura, said he was not pleased with the decision of the NWC by disqualifying other aspirants. He added that the problems of the party were being compounded under the leadership of Oshiomhole.

He said, “More disturbing is the increasingly audacious impunity associated with the leadership of the party under Adams Oshiomhole. There has been a high level of inconsistent standard applied across the states of the federation.”

He said members of the party in the state would not accept “emergence of any candidate unless through lawful means.”

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Source: Punch News


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