STRONG indications emerged, yesterday in Abuja, that the three-member Election Appeal Committee appointed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to look into complaints that trailed the September 3, Ondo State governorship election primaries is under pressure to recommend a cancellation of the exercise.apc

This came as a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP and former commissioner for Health in Ondo state, Dr Dare Bada, yesterday, emerged as the governorship candidate of the  New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) An NWC official, who requested not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, stated that although the party has never cancelled any of its primary elections in the past, certain forces are now hell-bent on creating an antecedent.

The party official said : “Truth is that some forces are so resolute in pushing for fresh primaries but we are waiting for the appeal committee to submit their report, then some of us can now bare our minds before we would take a position.” C’ttee accused of inducement The NWC member also stated that some of aggrieved aspirants have levied allegations of bribery against the appeal committee. Although, he declined naming the aspirants, he said the NWC is already conducting a discreet investigation on the matter.

The Helen Bendega-led Appeal Committee is accused of a plot to tamper with the result of the primary election, which produced a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN. Other members of the Appeal Committee are Alhaji Musa Umar (Secretary) and Nikky Ejezie. “This development is very disturbing. We (NWC) have received reports on the alleged activities of the Election Appeal Committee. Any official Party position on the allegations will be pre-emptive and judgemental. We are already conducting a discreet in-house probe so that the NWC is properly guided when we receive the report of the Appeal Committee.

Even though our preliminary reports suggest that the September 3, 2016 Ondo State governorship election primaries conducted by the Jigawa State Governor, Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar-led five member committee was very transparent and credible, we await the report of our Appeal Committee,” said the NWC member. It was learned that the APC NWC led by the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has been alerted of the plot but it is unclear what action the body will take.

The Sept. 3 APC primary held in Akure, had produced Akeredolu as winner after polling 669 votes to defeat his closest rival and the candidate believed to be the choice of one of the party’s national leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Dr Olusegun Abraham, who garnered 635 votes. Ex-PDP stalwart emerges  NNPP candidate Meanwhile, a former chieftain of the PDP, Dr Bada has emerged the governorship candidate of the NNPP. Bada recently defected from the ruling party in the state following the emergence of Eyitayo Jegede as the party’s flagbearer

He was unanimously elected after five other contestants stepped down for him at the party primaries held in Akure. PDP says

Jegede not joining LP

Relatedly, the PDP in the state yesterday denied that its governorship candidate Eyitayo Jegede was planning to dump the party for Labour Party, LP. Its Publicity Secretary and Director of Publicity, Messrs Banji Okunomo and Ayo Fadaka described the report as mischievous. Okunomo maintained that the PDP has no two candidates for the election, noting that Jegede remained the only candidate accepted and recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission and other stakeholders .

“ It is a lie that Jegede has joined the LP, it is true that when the election approached some smaller parties may align with the bigger ones, it is very common but the PDP can not go down to join any smaller party, when the time comes it is the smaller ones that will join the PDP . We are moving forward, we can not move backward, it is impossible.”

Similarly, Fadaka declared that the APC would not have its ways in taking over power from the ruling party, saying the PDP would win the governorship election in November. “The APC has made life difficult for the people of this country in less than two years of its administration, so we should not allow them to come to Ondo State, they have nothing to offer us here. Many people that campaigned and voted for them in 2015 have been expressing regret of their actions now”, Fadaka stated.

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