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Uncertainty As APC NWC Disowns Lagos Primary

Uncertainty As APC NWC Disowns Lagos Primary

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Lagos — In pulsating moments of intrigues from different contending forces, the National Working Committee (NWC) Monitoring Group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) declined to accept the result of the gubernatorial primary conducted yesterday across the 245 wards in Lagos State.

Earlier in the day, there had been massive turnout of party members to express their right by voting the aspirant of their choice between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his main challenger Babajide Sanwo-Olu who is enjoying the support of the party’s National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other APC stalwarts.

The enthusiasm that came with the participation was overwhelming and in a few minutes, results, most of which were favourable to Sanwo-Olu, began trickling in.However, the celebration in Sanwo-Olu’s camp did not last long as the NWC Monitoring Committee disowned the process, insisting on a new one they maintained would be deemed credible by all.

According to the Chairman, NWC Monitoring Committee, Clement Ebri, a major reason for the non-recognition of the conducted primary was the non-submission of required agent lists across the 20 local governments by one of the contending parties.

“While one of the contending parties has submitted its completed list, the other has only submitted a list for seven names. And we cannot go to the field with just that. So we waited till about one hour ago when the names were brought to us.

“We want to ensure that whatever kind of victory that comes out of this process will be acceptable to all. Lagos is important to us and we want to do the primary with lots of circumspection,” Ebri told journalists in the afternoon, hours after thousands of APC members believed they had voted for their respective choice.

Ebri said the committee was following instructions from the national headquarters of the party, which was expected to give the directive on how to proceed to the next stage.

“This is just like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). A lot of preparation usually goes on behind the scene,” he added.

“Another thing was that while we were coming here, the National Secretariat told us we should use ballot papers. But when we met the stakeholders yesterday, it became obvious that we needed to adjust. We communicated to the National Secretariat who said we should adjust. And based on the submission then, we agreed that the voting should be through an open system in a manner that will produce an objective result. For us, the stage is set and we are ready for the election,” Ebri said.

Primary has been conducted – Lagos APC

In what seemed an ambush of Ebiri’s press briefing, the Lagos State APC Chairman, Tunde Balogun, stormed out of the meeting with the members of the NWC monitoring committee 30 minutes earlier to grant a press interview where he applauded the primary, describing it as free and fair.

“As you all witnessed across the 245 wards, the primary was conducted. Of course, I cannot be everywhere, but we have all seen at the different polling centres that people lined up and the process went on smoothly. We have observers, INEC representatives and agents of both contestants signing result sheets. So, as far as we are concerned, the primary has been well conducted,” Balogun said.

The state chairman stressed that about 1.5 million members had participated in the process, saying it would be wrong to disenfranchise them because already the election had been “constitutionally conducted”.

He also announced Sanwo-Olu as winner of the exercise.

Daily Trust reports that Balogun’s interview was, earlier, interrupted repeatedly by one Oluwabunmi Adetola, who claimed to have come from Ward J in the Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Ambode insists on credible process

Adetola said she and many supporters of Ambode were not allowed to participate in the process as the chairman of the local government allegedly led a team of hoodlums to chase away those suspected to be sympathetic to Ambode.

Similarly, Ambode’s support group, otherwise known as Ambode Campaign Organisation (ACO), in a statement noted that there were guidelines and procedures which the National Working Committee (NWC) had insisted must be followed in conducting a credible poll.

“These include the usage of membership slips and membership cards by registered party members, as well as the adoption of a secret ballot system which protects the electorate. The NWC came from Abuja with sufficient ballot papers which are yet to be distributed. As a loyal and responsible party member and a democrat, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is guided by the process announced by the party and shall await the new date of the governorship primary election,” the statement read.

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