Saraki abandons independence celebration for Kwara PDP crisis




The Senate President, Bukola Saraki yesterday abandoned the 58th Independence anniversary celebration for an emergency trouble shooting trip to Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state .
Saraki who as number three citizen in the country arrived Abuja on Sunday morning from Ilorin for the ceremony, rushed back to Ilorin twelve hours to the celebration.
He left precisely by 9:30pm on Sunday as a result of violent disruption of gubernatorial primaries held for aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) at the Banquet Hall, opposite the Government House, at about 8: 00pm .
Saraki explained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media , Yusuph Olaniyonu in Abuja yesterday, rushed to Ilorin on Sunday night after earlier arriving Abuja from Ilorin in the morning of the same day .
Olaniyonu in the statement explained further that to prevent people seeing him as having preference for any of the aspirants, Saraki decided not to participate in the primaries by leaving Ilorin for Abuja.
But he had to make a quick return as a result of violent disruption of the election and the insinuation that he instructed delegates to vote for a particular candidate.
The statement reads in part: “Dr.
Saraki believes that competence, popularity and acceptability, must be the deciding factors in the selection of the party’s gubernatorial candidate.
As such, due to the fact that many of the aspirants in question met all three criteria, Dr.
Saraki has stated that a level-playing field must be provided for all the aspirants to vie for the gubernatorial ticket of PDP in Kwara.
“Going back to Sunday incident, the accreditation had already taken place, and delegates from two local government areas had previously voted.
The third local government had started to vote when a few people from that the council area raised certain observations about the process.
“The organizers of the primaries then suggested that the council in question should either conclude voting while the observations were addressed, or allow another councils to vote — pending the resolution of the observations that were raised.
“It was at this point that hired thugs forced their way into the venue of the primaries to disrupt the process.
“It is important to note that despite his influence in the politics of the state, Dr.
Saraki has always worked to ensure that the democratic process is followed to the letter.
Additionally, as many of his political associates are aspiring to become the next governor of the state, he has maintained that he will allow the people to decide and work to ensure that the party primaries in the state remains credible.
“That was why he stayed back in Abuja while the primary election in Ilorin was on-going.
He only left Abuja for Ilorin at 9.10pm yesterday following the news of the disruption.

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