Tuesday, October 2, 2018 5:00 pm
The National Working Committee, NWC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has nullified the governorship primary election held in Lagos on Tuesday.
In fact, the Committee said there was no election as the due process was not followed and that it was now ready to conduct the poll.
This is coming as the Lagos State Chairman of the APC, Tunde Balogun, said there was election and that it was free and fair across all wards in Lagos State.
Chairman of the Lagos Governorship Electoral panel, Chief Clement Ebri, who addressed newsmen in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, said as far as the committee was concerned, the governorship primary election had not been held in Lagos yet, while nullifying any purported election reportedly held earlier in the day.
Ebri had spoken as if nothing happened earlier in the day until journalists bombarded him with questions to explain the committee’s decision as for the election that was held at various wards in the state.
“We had a section with representatives of both aspirants here at about 8 am. And we asked that they bring names of their representatives that would be used for the exercise. But the names didn’t arrive early from both parties. There was no election today. First and foremost, yesterday we held a stakeholders meeting, certain submissions were made and on the basis of these submissions, I contacted the National Headquarters and they asked us to adjust the procedures in line with the provisions.
“Having done that, we now had to reach out to the party executives to submit list that could be utilised for the purpose of posting officials to supervise the elections. Those lists only arrived at about an hour ago and so anything that was done without the list is a nullity because we wanted harmony and I told you, we are more interested in harmony than victory, so we had to wait for them.
“There was no way we could have gotten up at 8am, sat down in this place for about eight to nine hours without seeing anybody and then I would go ahead and do something? It is only fair that when you don’t see one party, you have to wait and be patient and that is what has brought us to this point,” he explained.
On whether the committee informed the aspirants that there would be no election, Ebri said the committee had a session with the representatives of both aspirants, and that they were “here as early as 8am and at that meeting we discussed some of these modalities and asked them to furnish us with names of people who will act as party agents so that we could use for this exercise. So, we received from one party, a list about one hour ago, and at one point, they brought a list for seven local governments out of 20 and about five hours later, they brought list for 11, even the other two local governments have not been provided till this moment. Do you blame me?
“Will you have expected us to collect 18 from one person and 20 from another person? No. this is all about fairness and equity, this is about integrity and I think that at the end of the day, what we did was the best. I couldn’t have collected materials and say because the other party didn’t come, I give to the other person and say go and conduct the election.”
Earlier, Ebri said due to the political tension in the state, the committee had decided to be very careful and methodical with the process, saying that as party men, peace was more important to the party than victory, as the APC was interested in the process that would be celebrated by both parties.
“And that is what we have done. We are ready to go to the field and execute this. And we aim to do it in a clinical version because Lagos is very important to us and it is the flagship for the party. In the next few minutes I will contact the national headquarters and inform them that we are done with the preparatory process. It takes a lot of work for the main show to take place.
“We are ready to give the state the most credible election. We will contact the national headquarters on the timing for the release of materials. It is not our fault that this exercise took this long. In some states, primary were moved to Thursday.
” Now that we are ready, we will contact the national headquarters on the situation and the right time would be announced. We have five persons from the local organising committee and four for each ward. They will all go out to ensure the primary is conducted. We all understand the terrain in the state especially as it concerns the traffic situation. So, the materials are available now and ready for deployment,” he added.
Ebri stated that the national secretariat advised the committee to use ballot papers and that the committee came into Lagos with thousands of them.
He said during the stakeholders meeting, it became obvious that the state chapter of the party was not ready for such primary as they claimed that there was no time to educate the members and others and that based on the submission made at the stakeholder’s meeting, some changes were made.
“And we were advised to conduct the open ballot in a manner that would be objective to all parties. And that is one of the adjustment we made to accommodate views of the stakeholders. For us, the stage is set and the primary should commence any moment from now,” he said.