PUNCH HEADLINE: Ekiti: Oni, Ojudu attack Fayemi, APC wants primary concluded

The All Progressives Congress has ordered that the process of electing its standard-bearer in the forthcoming Ekiti State governorship election must be concluded before its National Working Committee takes the next step.

This was even as the party leadership held that the conduct of the party’s ward congresses across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory was largely peaceful.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who spoke to The PUNCH on the telephone on Sunday, said the issues regarding the Ekiti governorship primary had been resolved.

He added that the violence which led to the suspension of the primary was regrettable.

In response to a question on when the party’s NWC would speak about the situation in Ekiti State, Abdullahi said, “The process will have to be completed first before any other step can be taken.

“When the process is completed from where it was stopped and a winner emerges, then we will receive and treat the report of the primary’s committee and the appeal committee (if any). It is after this is done that we will submit the name of the successful candidate to INEC.”

He later told journalists, that “The issue (Ekiti situation) has been resolved and it is our hope that the exercise will continue where it stopped.

“The chairman of the exercise has spoken to the national chairman after consulting with the aspirants. Our position is that the process should resume as quickly as possible. The issue of indefinite postponement does not arise.”

The APC equally congratulated all its members for the generally peaceful conduct of the party’s ward congresses which took place on Saturday.

The party commended members who served in the congress committees for their dedication and impartiality. 
In a statement by Abdullahi, the party added, “We, however, acknowledge that there are some issues arising from the conduct of the elections in some states.

“With this in view, the party had set up various appeal committees which will begin sitting from Monday, May 7, 2018.

“We therefore call on all party members to remain law-abiding and where there are issues, they should seek redress through the appeal committees in their respective states.”

A high-ranking party leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he didn’t want to “add petrol to a raging fire”, said what happened during the ward congresses was expected.

“It is simply a contest for power; nothing more. With the way we play politics in this part of the world, if you have no base at the ward level, it is difficult for you to have a serious standing in the party, especially if you want to seek an elective office.

“Every serious party leader will want to have a grip on what happens from the ward level up before vying for anything at the local government or the state level. That is why membership registration started at the ward level.

“As a ruling party, it is normal for contests to be more pronounced because people feel that securing the party’s endorsement is a sure way to victory,” he added.

The party leader said he and his colleagues were aware that the APC did not have the luxury of time; hence they were determined to ensure that everything possible was done to resolve all issues before the national convention in June.

But the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, condemned the violence and bloodletting that “characterised Saturday’s APC ward congress in various parts of the country.”

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, the PDP said it was worrisome that the country’s electoral processes were still smudged by unnecessary resort to violence by contenders, even when there were “available channels for the resolution of disagreements at various levels of engagement.”

Ologbondiyan said the PDP was not happy about the violence and called on politicians to be tolerant of one another.

He said, “The PDP regrets the violence and calls on Nigerians, particularly political stakeholders, to make sure that our electioneering and political process are free of violence, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections.

“Our party values the life of every single Nigerian and we implore all contenders, including political parties, to eschew desperation for power, especially in the face of loss of popularity and public support due to performance issues.

“Nigeria belongs to all of us and we seek a peaceful environment where the citizens are free to vote for candidates of their choice at all levels, particularly the presidency.

“As it were, majority of Nigerians have made up their minds where to go in 2019 and we urge all stakeholders, including political parties, contenders to offices and the Independent National Electoral Commission to respect the will of the people by playing by the rules and maintaining a peaceful atmosphere.”

He said the PDP sympathised with the families of those who lost their lives in the violence and prayed for speedy recovery for those injured.

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