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Ekiti APC Governorship Primary: The Stories Untold



One huge minus for news reporting in our nation today, a product of ominous catastrophe befalling the media–new and traditional, unabated, is the uninspiring relaying or presentation of events of all magnitudes from the same somehow narrow angle.

In a very bewildering proportion also, the casting of similar or the same headlines for news events is fast becoming the fad among media practitioners at all levels in Nigeria. Of course, this was the situation with the suspended Ekiti APC governorship primary election of last Saturday.

Stories Told the Nation So Far

Expectedly, all major and minor news portals in Nigeria featured the unconcluded and suspended APC governorship primary last weekend. A summary of reportage of the doomed electoral activity in Ado Ekiti last Saturday by the Nigerian media is that it got suspended indefinitely as a result of violence in the process initially configured to produce the party’s flag-bearer for June governorship election. Of course they were all right.

As reported by SaharaReporters, “The Ekiti gubernatorial primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC was suspended few hours after it began on Saturday following outbreak of violence over allegations of the manipulations of the process to favour one of the 33 aspirants. ‎Violence broke out at Oluyemi Kayode stadium, Ado Ekiti, the venue of the primary after agents of some of the aspirants for the gubernatorial ticket accused the delegates loyal to former governor of the state, Mr. Kayode Fayemi of engaging in malpractices”.

SaharaReporters continued, ”Voting had commenced when suddenly the delegates claimed other delegates loyal to Mr. Fayemi were breaching the rules, Premium Times reported. The delegates making the claim of malpractices became uncontrollable, leading to commotion and disruption of the voting process. Security agents immediately cordoned off the voting area to secure the ballot boxes and papers. But this did not stop the destruction of some of the ballot boxes. There was sporadic shooting by security personnel to ensure calm. Efforts by the Chairman of the organising committee, Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa, to call the primaries to order were unsuccessful as at 5.00 p. But he eventually announced infinite suspension of the primary after meeting with the 33 aspirants. Mr. Fayemi’s representative, Abejide Adewumi, said other agents realised that his candidate was coasting home to victory and decided to disrupt the process”.

A complimentary version by Premium Times stated: “Following the violent disruption of the All Progressives Congress governorship primaries in Ekiti State, the Tanko Al-Makura-led organising committee has suspended the exercise indefinitely. A meeting of the committee and all the aspirants held shortly after the crisis erupted. The meeting held for nearly one hour and half.Mr. Al-Makura stormed out of the meeting and was guarded into his car and driven away without briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting. PREMIUM TIMES gathered that it was an agreement among the aspirants that the primaries be suspended. However, Bimbo Daramola, one of the aspirants, who said he was not permitted to speak for the committee, said the aspirants during the meeting urged the organising committee to take a second look at the process. He said what happened was triggered by some observations and there was need not to expose such an election to the factors that prevailed in Saturday’s exercise”.

Premium Times further relayed: “Most of the aspirants would not talk to journalists as they equally stormed out of the venue of the primaries. The process was disrupted by party supporters and agents of aspirants after they alleged that the agent of former governor, Kayode Fayemi, was trying to manipulate the voters. They also alleged that Mr Fayemi was handing a tag to the delegates with inscription “JKF” on which they wrote the serial number of the ballot papers, fearing that it was an attempt to monetise the process. Mr. Fayemi’s agent, Abedeji Adewumi, said the other agents chose to disrupt the process because they saw that the voting was in favour of his aspirant”. The foregoing has been the focus of reports in all the print, electronic and social media regarding last Saturday botched APC primary election in Ekiti–but, what about the flip side?
The Jettisoning of Zoning Principle

Early last year, when a few of the aspirants for the governorship race were known, I published in some national dallies the danger inherent in trading our age-long Omoluabi culture of equity and fairness for political ambition by the top gladiators in the APC, PDP or any other political party. My conclusion in the media feature was that since the North and Centre Senatorial Divisions of the state have produced two governors each for two and three terms respectively, the natural or commonsensical thing for parties to do was to look for capable candidates with leadership traits and pedigree from Ekiti South Senatorial Zone.
Incredibly, while my opinion as well as that of many other well-meaning Ekiti citizens, was smartly heeded by Governor Ayodele Fayose’s PDP, APC, on the other hand, preferred the uncouth arrangement that produced 33 aspirants in Saturday suspended election in our impoverished and relatively small state.
From Commonsensical angle, this Ekiti APC’s seeming political naivety has two odious consequential effects. First, it makes intra-party manageability of the whole political process quite unwieldy, cumbersome and potentially tension-prone. Secondly and a direct inference from the first consequence, it readily backgrounds the inability or helplessness of the party in Ekiti to conventionally banish Engr. Segun Oni, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Ayo Arise, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, Hon. Bimbo Daramola and other Ekiti North and Centre Senatorial gladiators, from the electoral activity.
The Aspirants And Individualism
As in other democratic situations where horse-trading, alignments and realignments are usually integral parts on the eves of electoral activities like the suspended Ekiti APC governorship primary election of last Saturday, from close observation, there was no aspirant ready to trade off his or her N7.5 million paid to collect the party ticket and many more millions of Naira spent on the whole process since the election frenzy began. This among other facts, perhaps, explains the sudden outbreak of violence by some of the party delegates when they sensed the electoral process was being brazenly compromised.
The Fayemi Headache In Ekiti APC
In regard of last Saturday event in Ekiti State, what could be called Fayemi Headache in Ekiti APC has two or more negative manifestations. First, until his entry into the governorship race late last year and declaration of intent to run some weeks back, the general belief in Ekiti State and Ekiti APC was that Dr. Fayemi would not contest the primary.
As a matter of fact, he was not only largely viewed as not having interest in running for the party ticket, he was widely regarded as backing some of the aspirants, who were also said to have received his assurance and blessings. Thus, for him to have turned 360 degree to, as it were, ‘renege’ on his earlier position was largely consider as huge deceit, political chicanery, monumental inconsistency and mother of all lies by majority of those he had given his words and many Ekiti APC leaders, their teeming supporters and members.
The second plank of the Fayemi Headache in Ekiti APC is the huge rumour or allegation that he’s the Presidency’s preferred choice over and above all other 32 candidates, Engr. Segun Oni, from whom he wrestled power through the courts to become Ekiti governor in 2010 inclusive.
The Naira Factor
It is generally believed the suspended APC governorship primary will remain the most expensive in annals of political history of Ekiti State. It is alleged that on the part of the aspirants, the process culminating in last Saturday suspended election has gulped billions of Naira–one of them who was in the eye of storm in the violence-truncated electoral activity, was alleged to have promised the delegates N500, 000 or half of a million Naira each–with N250, 000 allegedly paid to them already under oath the night before the election.
The other naira factor is that it was alleged that the security at event was also compromised. One of the aspirants was accused of buying over the whole security personnel for the election, particularly as the new Commissioner of Police posted to Ekiti State only assumed duty on the morning of the election which was also initially disrupted by heavy rain that day.
Victory for The Dark Horse?
One very vital omission from all the reports on the doomed APC governorship primary of last Saturday was that, far from the quoted claim of Fayemi’s representative, Abejide Adewumi, that the former governor was leading in the election, it is alleged that majority of the delegates–even many of the aspirants, realised that a dark horse, Dr. Wole Oluyede, from Ikere Ekiti, was actually coasting home in what would have been a landslide victory.
As it was alleged, this reality caused panic and desperation in Fayemi’s camp, hence the allegation that Abejide Adewumi, who also allegedly received a dirty and retaliatory slap from a younger representative of one of the aspirants in the election, brazenly spearheaded the campaign that delegates should cast their votes for his principal at the venue–the immediate cause of the dramatic violence that truncated the election.

–Dapo Olaosebikan, veteran journalist and an observer at last Saturday election in Ado Ekiti, wrote in from Abuja

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I regret voting for Buhari in 2015, says Gov Ortom



Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue state

Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue state

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has appealed to the Christian community in the state to forgive him for working for the election of President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2015 general election.

The governor who disclosed this while interacting with the Christian community during his re-election campaign at Wannune in Tarka local government area of the state, regretted that after the people massively voted for the President, he has decided to pay them back in a bad way.

He implored the people to vote Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, whom he described as the best friend of the Tiv nation.

Governor Ortom who lamented the spate of killing of innocent people by armed Fulani herdsmen, reiterated his stands against the proposed grazing routes by the Buhari administration saying the state under his watch would not cede any piece of land for the creation of the grazing routes.

Ortom regretted that after the law banning anti open grazing law was successfully passed by the state House of Assembly, some indigenes of the state including Senator George Akume came out and betrayed the people before the Presidency that citizens of the state were responsible for the killings.

The governor who also lamented continued killing of farmers including women and children by herdsmen, said the greatest challenge confronting his administration is non-payment of salaries but expressed his readiness to source for funds to clear the backlog to make life more meaningful to the people.

Governor Ortom stated that the All Progressives Congress, APC-controlled federal government failed to address the problems faced by the people by Jihadists who openly declared their conquest and occupation agenda on the state and thereafter failed to give the people justice when they demanded it.

According to him this development coupled with what he described as the deliberate neglect of Benue people by not giving them strategic positions in government prompted him to seek an alternative platform on which to pursue his re-election.

He appealed to the people to seize the opportunity of the general elections this year to vote for all the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who he said will protect their interests and guarantee their survival.

Also, the State PDP Chairman, Mr John Ngbede, had appealed to the people to seize the opportunity of the general elections to vote for all the candidates of the party.

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2019: INEC alleges plans by politicians to use food vendors for vote buying



INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC said it has uncovered plans by some politicians to station food vendors within polling units to use them as “cash points” to voters who would sell their votes to them.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed Monday in Abuja, when he played host to the European Union Chief Observer, Mrs Maria Arena, that the commission will fight any process that will ridicule its resolve to conduct a transparent, free and fair election in the country.

“Following recent consultations with stakeholders across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, the attention of the commission was drawn to a new plan by some political actors to use food vendors around polling units with large voter populations as collection points for cash-for-votes as well as other forms of material inducement to voters on Election Day. We are aware of this trick. It will not work,” Yakubu disclosed.

He noted that the Smart Card Readers will be deployed on election day for voter verification, confirmation and authentication.

“We have enhanced them and improved their functionality. Clause 10 of the Regulations and Guidelines recently released by the commission makes the use of Card Readers mandatory. It is an offence to accredit a voter by any other means. INEC not outsourcing ad hoc staff recruitment

“The bulk of ad hoc staff for election duty will be drawn from the pool of young Nigerians serving in the National Youth Service scheme. The commission has established clear criteria for drawing from students of tertiary institutions to make up for any shortfalls. This has been the practice over several electoral cycles. Similarly, Collation and Returning Officers are drawn from senior academic staff of federal universities led by the vice chancellors. We have already commenced the process following our meeting with the vice chancellors last week. In addition, there is a clearly established system of vetting all election duty staff before they are engaged.

“Therefore, the claim that the commission has outsourced the recruitment of election duty staff to partisan actors is the usual allegation on the eve of elections and should be disregarded. With 25 days to the 2019 general elections, the commission’s attention is firmly focused on the conduct of credible elections. We will not be distracted into a fatuous debate.

“I wish to assure the EU that our preparation for the 2019 general election is on course. We have had a series of very assuring meetings with the security agencies in order to ensure that processes are protected, the right of voters to vote freely safeguarded, access for observers and the media guaranteed, the election transparent and the outcome a true reflection of the will of the Nigerian people,” Yakubu added.

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2019, referendum between competence and incompetence – Lamido



Sule lamido

Sule lamido

Former Governor of Jigawa State and former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s Presidential Aspirant, Sule Lamido has told party supporters that the forthcoming election is a referendum between competence and incompetence, security and insecurity, food and hunger and called on the people of Jigawa to vote for the Presidential Candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar.

Lamido made the call on Monday in Dutse when the PDP Presidential campaign train landed in the state.

Addressing a large crowd of supporters that practically locked down the entire Dutse, Lamido reminded them that they owe Atiku massive support since his mother is from the state just as he stressed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed Nigeria and should be thrown out as they have not been able to fulfill any of the promises they made in 2015.

He said: “My people, today I bring to you a man who truly love you. The candidate is our own son here, he is our own. Therefore, he has a right to demand our vote.

“And because the choice today is between competency and incompetence, between security and insecurity, between broken promises, lost hope and someone that will give hope. It’s also between falsehood and truth, between genuine political leaders and not para-civilians.

“Others are para-civilians and they don’t understand compassion. Love and peace is alien to them. So the family of PDP all over Nigeria are counting on Atiku Abubakar. We trust you, because we know you can do it.

Failure is not part of our culture, failure is the culture of APC. We are party of people who are brothers and sisters.”

He assured Jigawa electorate that they will not regret their votes for Atiku and PDP, stressing that APC administration has done incalculable damage to the country, berating the party for destroying Nigeria through their lack of direction.

The National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus in his remarks, told the mammoth crowd that PDP is coming to power to put food on their tables and tackle hunger in the land.

He said: “We are bringing in an energetic and competent person; Atiku Abubakar with experience to tackle poverty created by the APC.

“Atiku remains the man that will defeat the APC, the man they are afraid of. The man who just came from America, he has gone and spoken to the civilised world. He has addressed the international community that as soon as he’s sworn in, businesses will begin to grow”.

Prince Secondus told the jubilant crowd that their massive turn out at the rally is a clear indication that power is returning to the party and the state is already on the train to rescue Nigeria and assured the people that the in-coming President Atiku Abubakar is energetic, ready and equipped to do the work.

Atiku who spoke in both Hausa and Fulfude, (Fulani Language) assured the people that know that the APC are liars, they came to lie to us, deceived us and when we gave them our mandate, when they became President they forget about all what they promised us.

“Since Sule Lamido left as the governor, even a needle they did not buy for Jigawa people. So I urge you all to return PDP so that you can all enjoy. I know you will, so you have promised me that you will vote for PDP.

“Another important thing is that you should all come out and vote, don’t just vote ensure that your vote count. After you vote, wait until they count and announce the winner.”

The campaign earlier had a stop at the Palace of the Emir of Dutse, Alhaji Nuhu Sanusi, who prayed for Atiku and his team just as the PDP National Chairman and other top leaders of the campaign council rode on an open caravan to the rally venue of about three kilometre distance.

The cheering crowd burnt brooms and displayed it to Atiku and his team chanting abuses on the ruling APC.

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