Agbomhere: APC primary for Etsako by-election rigged

Agbomhere: APC primary for Etsako by-election rigged

Sunday, January 15, 2017 11:57 pm

Agbonmhere: I am still in the race


Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Mr. Blessing Agbomhere, one of the aspirants who fought for the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket at the party’s primary election last Saturday to fill the vacant Etsako federal constituency seat at the House of Representatives, has rejected the result of the primary which produced Johnson Oghuma as the party’s candidate for the January 28 by-election.
Oghuma, a former member of the state House of Assembly, who scored 334 votes to defeat Agbomhere, who polled 75 votes, was announced winner of the primary election which held at Auchi, by Chairman of the APC electoral panel, Senator Bala Ibin na’Allah.
But Agbomhere while addressing journalists in Benin on Sunday, accused the APC electoral panel of allegedly manipulating the  process.
The aggrieved aspirant who claimed that he had an early lead, also alleged that the composition of the delegates ‎was altered from about 1,000 delegates to less than 500, in favour of a particular aspirant.
“When the process changed, I complained to the chairman (Na’Allah). He did not do anything about it. I complained to the security but it did not do anything about it until the protest.
“There is a primary election committee, which came to conduct the election. It was a five-man committee; they‎ (panel members) made that blunder in an attempt to favour a particular candidate.
“By the time they correct that blunder, automatically, the victory comes to me who was leading before the process was compromised,” Agbomhere‎ said.
‎Agbomhere disclosed that he had already submitted his appeal to the committee set up to address issues arising from the primary and urged the party to declare him as the rightful winner.
‎The State Chairman of the APC, Anselm Ojezua, has however dismissed  Agbomhere’s allegation, saying that his appeal lacked merit, even as as he described the primary election as transparent.
“Yesterday’s (Saturday) primary was transparent, free and it was fair. Strangely enough, in his (Agbomhere) written petition, he did not accuse the panel of manipulating the process; he only said that the list it used was short of the requirement.
“I recall that when the issue came up at the venue, I was the one who reminded him that the constitution of our party does not ‎contain guidelines for primaries. It only gives the power to provide guidelines to the National Executive Committee.
“And the NEC, acting through the agency of the National Working Committee, provides guidelines from time to time. So to that extent, his appeal does not have any credibility. It lacks merit,” Ojezua said.

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