By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Adoption of indirect primaries by the State Working Committee (SWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State for its National Assembly aspirants has been rejected by some aspirants vying for the positions and described it as not being in tandem with the directives of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
The aspirants and their supporters, who besieged the state secretariat of the party along ikre-Ekiti road in Ado-Ekit, the state capital around 10.25 am, accused the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Niyi Adebayo, and Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of trying to scheme them out of contest to pave way for their cronies.
The contestants, who are vying for Senate and House of Representatives seats across the state, called on the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to overrule the SWC on its decision to apply indirect method for their primaries.
This was as an APC chieftain and senatorial aspirant for Ekiti North District, Senator Ayo Arise, on Tuesday withdrew from the senatorial contest over the indirect mode of primary election adopted by the party in the state.
Arise, a former National Assembly member, who said it was practically impossible to mobilise delegates for the shadow election in less than 24 hours, having prepared for direct primaries for over two months, kicked against indirect primaries election format, saying it would not produce true reflection of the people’s wish.
Addressing journalists at his Oye Ekiti home town, Arise, who was seeking ticket for Ekiti North Senatorial District, reiterated the fact that he was not desperate for office, saying: “I believe sincerely that as democrats, we should continue to develop the system. We should not take steps that are retrogressive. Let us take steps that will deepen democracy.
“We have said that the delegates’ mode doesn’t produce popular candidates. Delegates’ mode doesn’t reflect the popular wish of the people”.
Arise, however, said he would continue to work with other leaders of the party in the state to ensure success of the party in 2019 elections and the re-election of President Muhammad Buhari in the presidential election.
Speaking at the protest in Ado Ekiti, the aggrieved aspirants alleged that members of the State Working Committee, led by Mr Paul Omotosho, was trying to subvert the process to give way for automatic tickets to Fayemi’s close allies.
The glass windows of the Secretariat located in Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti were smashed as the protesters forced their way into the building to send a signal that they were prepared to take on the governor.
The aggrieved aspirants, include: Messrs. Bimbo Daramola, Kayode Babade, Yemi Olayinka, Ayo Oshinkolu and Mrs Olutoyin Ajakaiye.
Daramola, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues accused the state executives of doing the bidding of the Governor-elect, to edge them out of the primary under the flimsy excuse of indirect primaries, contrary to the decision of the national secretariat.
Daramola said it was wrong for the state executives to have allowed individual to teleguide them to have his way and ensured that he imposed his candidates on the party.
He said: “It was bad for the APC that just won the governorship election to be behaving in this manner. We were supposed to be given the opportunity to test our popularity in the primaries, rather than resorting to imposition.
“The Deputy National Chairman, South, Governor-elect and other leaders of our party told us at Iyin-Ekiti, resident of Chief Niyi Adebayo that direct primaries will be used to pick the candidates.
“It was however unfortunate to receive a message on Sunday night that the earlier assurance at the meeting held with all aspirants had changed to indirect primaries.
“We have all been working on the agreement of direct primaries, it therefore became difficult to identify the so-called delegates because we don’t have access to the list, “he said.