By Onyebuchi Ezigbo And Victor Ogunje
Abuja/Ado Ekiti — APC reschedules Ekiti primary to Saturday
Ojudu withdraws from contest
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun final preparations for the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.
Speaking at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the gathering was aimed at deliberating on arrangements for the July 12 election in Ekiti, as well as that of Osun State.
He said the meeting would also focus on the ongoing national civic registration, as well as the forthcoming 2019 general election.
The INEC chairman and RECs later entered into a closed door meeting.
However, the REC in charge of Ekiti State, Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Raji, was absent at the meeting at INEC headquarters in Abuja.
Although part of the deliberations had focused on the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State but during the time for introduction, all the RECs representing the other states introduced themselves but that of Ekiti was conspicuously absent.
The INEC chairman while making his opening remarks, frantically looked for the REC to brief the meeting on updates about the gubernatorial election in the state but to no avail.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has rescheduled the Ekiti governorship primary election for tomorrow.
A statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, said: “This followed consultations between the APC National Working Committee (NWC), aspirants and other stakeholders.”
However, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters and governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, has withdrawn from the rescheduled governorship primary slated for tomorrow.
The primary was disrupted by irate party men last Saturday, citing cases of fraud and alleged manipulation of the process in favour of a candidate.
Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Ojudu said he decided to make the sacrifice to stop the alleged conspiracy between Chief John Odigie Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC) from imposing an ‘unpopular’ candidate, who will later fail woefully in the general election on the party.
He said his movement, Ekiti Rebirth Organisation (ERO), will work with other like-minds to stop the conspiracy of some cabal in the party’s NWC and their alleged antics to institutionalise money politics in APC.
“This movement continues but I would be stepping down immediately as a governorship aspirant to focus on this new mission.
“Ours is a battle for the soul of Ekiti that is just and we are going to win! Lets get going. Ekiti will never forget. To this end, I urge you all to hold steadfast. To not give up on the future of Ekiti.
Sincere appreciation to my wife, Omotola, for being a pillar of support and to my children, other family members and my friends, for believing in me.
“Yours has been a labour of love. The future is bright, our sights are certain and our gaze is steadfast on the future. We won’t relent because the struggle continues.
“From what has happened since May 5 to date, it goes without saying that this is an unfair contest where the NWC
Chairman has clearly demonstrated that he does not care what happens to our dear party now and in the nearest future.
“We saw a Chairman who has conspired with one of the aspirants in the race to unleash mayhem on others, wreck havoc and violence on ordinar
citizens and exposed the state to great embarrassment on national television.
“We saw an aspirant so unpopular to the extent that delegates called him unprintable names at the voting arena now being imposed on our people, not minding if this means we lose this state forever.
“We do not believe in engaging in an unfair contest and I am not ready to step on blood to get to power. As I have reiterated at different times in the course of the campaign, this was never about me. It was not about an ambition but a mission to give a new lease of life to Ekiti State and the people. It was about safeguarding the future of our children, our grandchildren, great grandchildren and even generations yet unborn.
“There is no doubt that we all love this land, that everyone of you had best hopes and aspiration for this beautiful state we call ours and that above all, this state should wear a new look, be adorned with a new reputation and have a new image of itself.
“I must not fail to mention in particular my dear brother, congressman Bimbo Daramola who worked assiduously with me in the attempt to find a solution albeit unsuccessfully, to what appeared as a stalemate – pushing for the Option A4 method of primary election, which Oyegun opposed vehemently.
“I appreciate his courage and optimism. Despite the seeming lack of results, we forged on. Similarly, my sister, Mrs. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade deserves an ovation for her sagacity and boldness. And many others who demonstrated their love for our state and the people
through their actions. We also appreciate our southwest leaders for
their intervention in the crisis. We thank them for their sage counsel.
“I want to especially thank Chief Bisi Akande, Segun Osoba and Bola Ahmed Tinubu for trying to help untangle the web that the Ekiti governorship primary election has become. All my life, I have fought injustice and sought the good of the whole.
“Therefore, this injustice perpetrated against Ekiti people by the NWC Chairman cannot be allowed to stand. This is why the fight will continue, not as an aspirant but as a party reformer.
“As a leader and party chieftain, I will inspire a new generation of leaders – of young professionals, businessmen and technocrats to re-enter our politics and change this state.
“Only then can we have men and women of honour who will take Ekiti out of the wilderness and restore her to her pride of place. At the national level, I will continue to support Mr. President in ensuring party reforms.”