Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday held its primary election to elect the party’s flag bearer for the September 22 governorship poll amidst sharp division within the leadership of the party in the state.
The direct voting system that had been recommended by the State Working Committee and approved by the National Working Committee as announced by the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, last Monday at the national headquarters in Abuja was used for the election.
This was in defiance of the plethora of criticisms and protests that had dogged the approval of the voting system, as it was said to be cumbersome and intended to favour a particular government’s anointed candidate.
Few hours to the exercise yesterday, some of the aspirants withdrew from the race. Among them is Moshood Adeoti.
A statement by the Director of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organization, Mr Kayode Agbaje, in Osogbo indicated that his withdrawal was based on his resolve to abide by the resolution of the Osun West Senatorial District where he hails from, to dissociate himself from the exercise.
The statement also quoted the aspirant who is the current Secretary to the State Government as alleging that the process was faulty as it had already been designed to favour an anointed aspirant. Alhaji Adeoti however informed his teeming supporters that he is still very much in the race to contest and win the governorship election come September 22, 2018.
Another aspirant, Peter Babalola, has also withdrawn from the race according to a release he personally ahead of the election on Friday.
He cited compromise of the process as his reason for the withdrawal, alleging that it had already been schemed to favour a government-anointed candidate.
Adebayo said, his next line of action would be taken in due course.
Also, Senator Babajide Omoworare withdrew from the race.
He said this in a statement issued by Comrade Tunde Dairo, his Director of Communications. “In view of obvious political realities which are beyond our control, Senator Babajide Omoworare will not present his ward agents, mobilise his supporters or deploy resources for the APC governorship primary election of July 20th, 2018.”
Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff, Gboyega Oyetola who participated was being hailed in most of the wards visited. In Osogbo, the state capital, Iragbiji, the home town of Oyetola and other towns like Ilesa, Ilobu,Ikirun, Ogbaagba, there was large turnout of voters.
However, the exercise was marred by late arrival of electoral materials and absence of electoral officials. The APC Electoral Committee had scheduled voting to begin in all the 332 wards across the state at 8 am in the 30 local government areas including the Area Office, Modakeke. But our correspondent who monitored the election in Ayedaade and Irewole local government areas discovered that as at 10:20 am, scores of electorate were still found waiting for materials and electoral officers.
Also, at Ward 4, Otun Olufi Secondary school, Gbongan, voters were seeing waiting for electoral materials and electoral officers.
It was the same situation at Ward 9, AUD Primary School, Atile Ikire.
There was also voter apathy because the turn out of the electorate remained unimpressive as at 11:a.m.
Hours before the commencement of the exercise, one of the electoral officials was attacked with machete cut on the head before the intervention of the police.
The incident happened at ward 1 at Laro area, Osogbo.
Meanwhile,11 of the 16 members of the State Working Committee of the in Osun State have faulted the direct method.
Addressing newsmen in Ilesa, Osun State, the acting Chairman of the party, Alhaji Isa Azeez Adesiji said that the state working committee of the party rejected the governorship primary declaring the exercise as null and void.
He argued that direct primary was contrary to the expected democratic norms and may eventually spell doom for the party.
According to him, “we wish to bring to your notice that before the direct primary, all state apparatuses were made available to the ‘anointed’ candidate, therefore depriving others of a level playing field.
“In view of all the reasons stated earlier and for record purposes, we all hereby counsel against the adoption of the direct primary being used for July 20th 2018 primary election while we dissociate ourselves from whatever the outcome of governorship primary.”