BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The National and State House of Assemblies aspirants under the factional platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress have described the primary elections held in the state last week as sham and asked the national leadership of the party to outrightly cancel the exercises.
Addressing a press conference on Monday in Osogbo, twelve National and State House of Assemblies aspirants alleged the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola and other leaders of the mainstream party of impunity, charade, confusion and manipulation of the primaries.
The party was yet to make public the results of the primary elections. The non-disclosure of the results had been greeted with protests by aggrieved aspirants and party members in the state. Also, there had been conflicting results on social media by aspirants who had been declaring themselves winners and apportioning defeats to their opponents.
The aggrieved aspirants, who are under a group in the party loyal to a former governor of the state and current Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the Osun Progressives (TOP), titled their speech, “A Rape of Democracy by Governor Gboyega Oyetola and His Collaborators,” said they participated in the screening conducted by the party and that they were cleared to take part in the primary elections.
The speech was jointly signed by the affected aspirants: Hon. Waseeu Gbola Adebayo
(Olorunda State Constituency), Owoade Ademola Adeyemi (Irewole/Isokan State Constituency), Wahab Kazeem Olanrewaju
(Ifelodun State Constituency), Babalola Iqmal Opeyemi (Ede South State Constituency), Kolawole Olalere Victor (Ilesa East State Constituency), Mrs. Adesola Arawole Adegbite (Odo-Otin State Constituency), and Olaoye Abdulhakeem (Osogbo State Constituency).
Others are Mrs. Olaniyi Shariat Olanike
(Ayedaade State Constituency), Kasali Nurudeen Adelaja (Iwo State Constituency), Opadola Abdullahi Amobi (Olaoluwa State Constituency), Hon. (Dr) Komolafe Akinlabi Richard (Ijesha-South Federal Constituency), Ibrahim Oyekunle (Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency).
“On behalf of other aspirants to the State House of Assembly and National Assembly positions, and the leadership of the authentic progressive’s platform, we wish to bring to the fore, indeed the attention of the whole world, the charade and sham that Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and his ilk called primary elections in the state. An autocratic and dictatorial regime couldn’t do worse in dragging democracy on the floor than what Governor Oyetola and his collaborators have done on the House of Assembly and National Assembly Primaries of our party. The late dark goggle general didn’t bring as much odium to democracy as Governor Oyetola.
“We are members of the All Progressives Congress in the State of Osun and are aspirants who obtained Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to contest for House of Assembly and House of Representatives in our various state constituencies and federal constituencies in the state.
“In line with the available sketchy guidelines of the party and short notice available to us following our tenacious search for information, we participated in the screening conducted by the party and we were cleared to take part in the primary elections.
“However, after the screening exercise, Governor Oyetola called a meeting of all the State House of Assembly and National Assembly aspirants to the Government House, Osogbo, where, among other anti-democratic statements uttered by the governor, he stated that some aspirants are not loyal to him, (not necessarily to the party) and he would not allow them to emerge victorious in the primary elections.
“It would be recalled that, the primary elections for the state House of Assembly was slated for Thursday 26th May, 2022. To our dismay and chagrin, till the day of that primary, there was no communication at all about the modalities for the election. The committee saddled with the responsibilities of conducting the election was not known to anybody, especially we the aspirants in our tendency. We considered that act as a deliberate way of tactically excluding us from the race. Apart from the fact that we did not see any committee from the National Secretariat, nobody called to inform us about the modalities for the Election.
“However, around 1pm on Thursday, 26th of May, the day slated for the House of Assembly primary election, a letter surfaced from unknown source and largely shared on the social media, wherein a Direct Primary mode of Elections was supposedly adopted for Osun, Benue and Kebbi States. The letter which was dated 25th May, 2022 was purportedly signed by His Excellency, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, the National Chairman of our party, and the National Secretary.
“Meanwhile, even before the letter surfaced online, we as popular aspirants in our various constituencies have mobilized the party members who are our supporters to the various collation centres in our constituencies, so that we might not be caught unawares. When the said letter from the National Secretariat surfaced online, we quickly sent messages round to all our supporters to stay put at the various ward collation centres for the primary election. Our people were there at the various collation centres and nothing was happening until around 5pm when some factional ward chairmen from the Governor’s camp surfaced, claiming to be the Presiding Officer for the primary election. These chairmen did not come to the collation centres with any electoral materials like APC membership register, results sheets, e.t.c. They just asked the party members to raise up their membership cards, queue and without any proper accreditation, did the counting, wrote the results on a piece of paper and left. Even with such fraudulent and reprehensible conduct, our supporters were more than those of our opponents and we had the highest number. In some wards, there was no counting of APC members at all.
“There and then, we went to various collation centres for the Local Government where the results for the local government ought to be collated. Nobody showed up at the Local Government Collation Centre till we left there around 8:30, 9pm and 10pm as the case may be.
“The same scenario was repeated for the House of Representatives primary which took place on Friday 27th May, 2022 and up till this moment, there are no official results for both the State House of Assembly and National Assembly primary elections in Osun.
“May we note that with the high level of impunity and manipulations involved in the process and shenanigans engaged to get rid of us, the joke has now turned on Governor Oyetola’s group, as all its aspirants in various constituencies are laying claims to victory and confirming it with concocted figures aimed to suite their fraud. It is unheard of, even a shameful experience, that four and three days after the primaries have been held, the Governor and his collaborators in the party are unable to declare winner in the contests. In practical terms, the reason espoused for the existence of our tendency, reformation of Osun APC, couldn’t have been better brought to the fore than the present show of shame. It is obvious that the Osun APC is rudderless and lack needed discipline which can only exists where the leadership is forthright, upright and seasoned.
“Finally, the information at our disposal is that all the results sheets are currently in the custody of Governor Gboyega Oyetola and the results sheets are being filled with the names of the Governor’s cronies who never won the primary elections, hence the need for this conference.
“Therefore, we call on His Excellency, the National Chairman of our party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu to use his good office to correct the current act of impunity and rape of democracy being displayed by Governor Gboyega Oyetola before it is too late.
“We, therefore demand the cancellation of the primaries, while fresh elections should be conducted,” the address delivered on behalf of other aspirants by Hon. Waseeu Adebayo, a two-term House of Assembly member from Olorunda State Constituency, read.
Meanwhile, speaking on a radio programme monitored by our correspondent in Osogbo on Monday, the Commissioner for Works and Transport in the state, Remi Omowaiye said the party leadership would make the results of the primary elections public at the appropriate time.
He said, “What gives you the impression that the party had not announced the winner? If we decide as a party that we will want to make it known to the press, that’s the decision of the party but you can’t be too sure that the party had not made its decision. The primaries had been held, results had been collated, winners had emerged and at appropriate time, the party leadership would make the results known to the public if they want to do that.”