Governorship primary election scheduled for Thursday among aspirants seeking for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti state has run into hitches as Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and six others have rejected processes planned for the election.
Bamidele in a statement signed on behalf of himself and six other aggrieved aspirants in the early hours of Thursday, accused Governor Kayode Fayemi of already hijacking the entire process in favour of his anointed candidate, Biodun Oyebanji.
Governor Fayemi was alleged in the statement to have influenced the appointments of his aides and government functionaries in Ekiti state as returning officers of the primary elections scheduled for the 177 wards in the state.
The statement reads in full, ” I am one of the seven governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who vehemently condemned the parade of functionaries of the Governor Fayemi administration as returning officers for the APC gubernatorial primaries billed to hold in the State on Thursday, 27th January, 2022.
“We had jointly expressed our utter displeasure against the undemocratic, lopsided and highly manipulative arrangement.
“I hereby make an additional statement to place on record that it is quite disheartening to realize that some leaders of the party such as Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Governor Kayode Fayemi have anointed a candidate at the detriment of other gubernatorial aspirants whereas they have on several occasions denied the accusation of anointing a candidate ahead of the primary election. Even the blind can see and the deaf can hear that the Fayemi administration is clearly working towards manipulating the primary election inspite of Governor Fayemi’s promise to create a level playing field for all aspirants during the governorship primary.
“Let it be on record that contrary to the guidelines for Ekiti State APC Governorship Primary Election as released by the party’s National Leadership, Governor Kayode Fayemi is parading officials of his Government, including elected House of Assembly Members, Local Government Chairmen and other top functionaries of his administration, as electoral umpires for the governorship primaries. How can you expect Fayemi’s loyalists and cohorts to conduct a free and fair election in the 177 wards across the State? Where is fairness and fairplay in that charade primary election aimed at forcefully foisting an aspirant on party members without recourse to democratic ethos, credibility and decency?
“To further worsen the sad situation, thousands of political thugs were reportedly brought to Ekiti State in the course of the week by top functionaries of the Governor Fayemi administration in their desperation to impose the anointed candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, against the wishes of APC teeming majority members and leaders in Ekiti State. In the last five days, we have been inundated with sad reports of gruesome attacks, harassment and intimidation of innocent party members by Government officials, security operatives and political thugs. These criminal elements have made life unbearable for our members. Many people have deserted their homes while several party members are running helter skelter for their dear lives.
“From the foregoing developments, the proposed APC governorship primary in Ekiti state is already bedeviled with reckless irregularities, serial violent attacks on innocent party members, the unlawful hijack and manipulation of the entire exercise by government functionaries, falsification of party membership register as well as illicit racketeering of results to favour Biodun Oyebanji, the anointed candidate of Governor Kayode Fayemi, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Erelu Bisi Fayemi.
“Without mincing words, I vehemently berate and condemn the kangaroo governorship primaries scheduled to hold on Thursday, 27th January, 2022 given the perceived irregularities, high handedness, intimidation and state-induced violence characterizing the exercise.
“To this end, I, therefore, call on the National leadership of our party to discontinue the process of the election before it leads to another round of embarrassment to the party in the Court room because of gross misconduct and deliberate contravention of the party’s Constitution and the Guidelines guiding the exercise by top functionaries of the Governor Fayemi administration, who obviously, have hijacked the process.”