EXPECTATIONS were high on Tuesday, September 22, as the much awaited All Progressives Congress, APC, Governorship primaries took the centre stage in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital. Considering the undercurrents that characterized the build up to the primaries, Bayelsans were indeed expecting a keenly contested affair.
Regrettably, it didn’t take too long for discerning eyes to see that the exercise was not going to be free as earlier expected. From the gate of the Samson Siasia Sports Complex where delegates were queuing, mayhem was unleashed on some delegates perceived to be loyal to some aspirants by hired thugs, who outnumbered legitimate delegates.
At the end, virtually all the APC governorship aspirants who had come into the venue with high hopes and expectations left the venue disappointed and distraught, wondering what went wrong. The discontent among the governorship aspirants became apparent early when three aspirants Timi Alaibe, Ebitimi Amgbare and Preye Aganaba raised an alarm over irregularities and intimidation of real delegates, and calling for the cancellation of the exercise.
By the time the chairman of the Primary Election Committee and Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, held a second meeting of the day with the aspirants at about 4pm after the invasion of the arena by irate youth loyal to one of the aspirants, it was glaring that the credibility of the exercise had been severed as only five of the 19 aspirants were left.
Credibility of The Exercise
Timi Alaibe and others were nowhere to be found. Two of the aspirants, Dr. Imoru Kubor, a retired federal permanent secretary and Ambassador Emmanuel Otiotio, who were among the five aspirants who stayed on, could only watch what was going on in the name of primaries in disbelief.
A female aspirant, Pastor (Mrs) Tonye Apreala walked out of the venue while the results were being announced.
Primaries ‘re illegal – Aganaba
Another aspirant, Engr. Preye Aganaba, one of the foundation members and financiers of the party, who walked out of the venue of the primary election described the process as an illegality that cannot stand.
According to him, the election was conducted by the state working committee and not by the national constituted primary election committee headed by Oshiomhole, and therefore is null and void.
His words: “There is no need for me to appeal as there were no election and result sheets in the first place because Governor Oshiomhole had cancelled the primaries. What happened was that the state chairman of the party, Tiwei Orunimighe, ordered for accreditation and election and the State Working Committee, SWC, are also delegates.
“As far as I am concerned, APC is a different party and will still conduct a fresh primaries because we are not like the PDP. We are in contact with the national secretariat of our party and a new primary will likely be conducted on Monday or Tuesday next week.”
Though former Governor Timipre Sylva has been declared winner of the primaries, the battle is not over yet as some of the aspirants and party faithful who were allegedly short-changed in the process are expecting the national body of the party to wade in. The unusual silence of Governor Oshiomhole, who didn’t utter a word before he was smuggled out of the venue by soldiers following threats by an army of hired thugs is what will certainly trouble those in Sylva’s camp.
With the ugly development that marred the governorship primaries, the APC is expected to hammer out a political solution to redress the perceived wrongs and settle grievances among the aspirants to boost its chances of occupying the Creek Haven Government House.
Though the chairman of the party, Chief Tiwe Orunimighe could not be reached for comment as his line was switched off, it is clear that the APC is now a house that is divided against itself.
Things have fallen apart and whether the centre will continue to hold is a matter, which only time can tell.
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