APC appeal panel.
…party beat deadline for submission of list.
Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Senator Representing Rivers East in the upper legislative chamber and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani may have emerged as some of the biggest losers in the nomination process for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The outcome of the Appeals Committee which considered complain from the aspirants for the various offices did not favour them as their Appeals were rejected by the panel while upholding the results of the primaries in the various states.
Those who also lost out in the governorship race in accordance with the committee report include brother to the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, Alhaji Mahmoud Halilu popularly known as Modi, President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Bala Bobboi Kaigama and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun who lost the opportunity to have his choice candidate returned as the party flag bearer.
However, there was palpable tension within and around the National headquarters of the party as aspirants for the Senate and House of Representatives battle to have knowledge of the outcome of the screening and probably the list of candidates sent to INEC by the party.
The party’s Director of Organisation, Alhaji Abubakar Kari who led some officials of the party in a branded APC bus to submit the list to INEC was seen at about 2.00pm cuddling the list of candidates which has been kept secret.
It was however gathered that many members of the party across the country who were not sure of whether the decision of the appeal panel were in their favour have been making frantic calls to the secretariat to know their fate.
The Nation learnt that several of the petitions submitted to the Appeals Panel were either not entertained or dismissed for lacking in substance and this has not gone down well with many of those whose petitions were not entertained.
The two petitions against the governorship primaries in Rivers by Senator Magnus Abe and Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs were not upheld, while the only petition from Delta written by Prof. Pat Utomi was dismissed and tagged “overtaken by event”.
From Borno, there were four petitions against the conduct of the governorship primary, with the committee recommending that a consensus option b explored to be driven by the National Chairman in consultation with the President.
It was also gathered that majority of the petitions against the conduct of the Senate and House of Representatives primaries were not upheld for various reasons ranging from lack of merit, lack of proof to lack of time for fresh primaries while no reasons were adduced for not upholding some others.
Similarly, some petitions were upheld and some of the petitioners declared as candidates of the party either because they actually won the primaries and were substituted or for other reasons ranging from lack of clearance and others that were not adduced by the committee.
For example, the Athanasisus Okon who runs the Buhari Friends Organisation Network who was excluded from the primary for Itu/Udom/Oboh-Akara federal constituency was upheld and declared candidate of the party by the committee for reason that he has a strong pedigree and has been a strong supporter of the President and the party.
A summary of the report indicate that all petitions against the Senate and House of Representatives primaries were rejected by the panel, the same position with Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross Rivers state.
In Delta, eight petitions were upheld for winning the primaries and having their names substituted, while seven were rejected, while the three petitions against the conduct of the governorship primary in Akwa Ibom state was rejected alongside eight House of Representatives seat, while five were upheld.
From Kaduna, six petitions were treated for the Senatorial primaries with five of them rejected while one (Shehu Sani) was upheld, while nine of the ten petitions received for the House of Representatives were rejected.
Two petitions each were received against the governorship primaries in Sokoto and Jigawa and rejected, while three House of Representatives and three Senatorial petitions were rejected from the two states.
Petitions from Kebbi and Katsina states were also rejected while the two against the conduct of the governorship primary were referred to the National Working Committee for decision, while the petitions from Kano were either upheld or referred to the party national secretariat for action.
From Taraba state, The Nation gathered that ten petitions were r covered against the conduct of the governorship primary, four against the Senate primary and nine against the House of Representatives primaries, with all petitions rejected, a similar situation with Adamawa and Bauchi states, with only one Senatorial and one House of Representatives seat in Bauchi upheld.
The situation is not different from the south west zone with six petitions treated from Ekiti against the conduct of the National Assembly primaries and rejected, three House of Representatives petition from Osun were also rejected.
From Ondo State, the panel upheld three petitions for senate, refers one to the NWC, rejects two and upheld the five petitions for House of Representatives, saying that they won the primary and were substituted.
Of the two petitions received from Lagos, one was rejected for the senate, while the one for the House of Representatives was upheld.
The panel also rejected two Senatorial petitions from Ogun and recommended that the third petitioner be adopted as the candidate saying stakeholder of the party in the areas agreed to adopt him as a sole candidate.
However, aspirants whose petitions were not treated are protesting against the report of the Appeals Panel saying grave injustice has been done to them both in the conduct of the primaries and the outcome of the Appeals Panel.
One of the aspirants Mr. Adaze Wilson Imafidon, who was seeking the party’s ticket to contest the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde House of Representatives Federal Constituency seat, submitted a petition to the appeals committee through his lawyers, describing the purported primary election held in the constituency as a sham.
According to his legal representatives, Imafidon and Imafidon of Eghosa Chambers, their client resorted to writing the petition to the committee because of the injustice that was done to him and his supporters who are bonafide members of the party.
The aspirant alleged that none of the accredited members of the APC committee sent to the area was present during the purported election in the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency except in Urhonigbe South where only the INEC went to observe.
“Consequently, it is now beyond contention that the proposed primary election into the Federal House of Representatives in Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency, which was slated for Saturday 6th October 2018, and indeed all other APC primary elections throughout Edo State did not hold to the dismay of our client and his mammoth supporters.” The petition disclosed.
They said any attempt to present any of the aspirants to INEC as the winner of the botched APC primary election of 6th October 2018 would be illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“We, therefore, call on the National Working Committee (NWC) to appreciate the concerns raised above and to do justice as appropriate in the overall interest of the Party.”
Another aspirant, Christopher Ariri, who is an aspirant for the Orhionmwon East State Constituency of Edo State, said, “Some of the accredited members of the appropriate committee mandated by the party to supervise and conduct the primary election into the Edo state House of Assembly’s Orhionmwon East Constituency, totally hijacked the process when they noticed our huge support by deliberately declining to count votes cast for us so as to foist on us a situation of complete helplessness”.
Meanwhile a group, on the platform of Benue South APC Justice and Equality Movement has taken a peaceful protest to the headquarters of the party, asking the NWC to call the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh to order for allegedly substituting the names of elected candidates with those who did not participate at the primary.
The coordinator of the group, Mr. Akor Ikwuocha, told newsmen that they were surprised that after winners have emerged and names were submitted to the approximate authority by the electoral committee, “the Minister allegedly from overseas, called a meeting of few persons and announced to them that he is substituting names of most of the candidates because they were not his choice.
“Today, there is no single campaign bill board of President Muhammadu Buhari in the whole of Benue South Senatorial district despite the fact that the Benue South has a cabinet member in person of Chief Audu Ogbe.”
The protesters said the attempt to change the names of elected candidates across Benue South may further engender disenchantment among the APC members.
They, however, appealed to the NWC to call the Minister to order and ensure that all those candidates that won the primary elections are allowed to go for the general election as party’s candidates.