***says primaries holds anytime from now
***Lagos chair says election held, credible
***women supporters of Ambode says no election in Shomou/Bariga
The All Progressives Congress, APC, National Working Committee, NWC, Governorship Primaries Panel for Lagos has cancelled the primaries that was held across the state on Tuesday saying election did not hold.
Chairman of the panel, Mr. Clement Ebri in company of other members of the panel disclosed this while addressing journalists at Protea Hotel on Tuesday on its preparation for the election. He addressed the press at 4.30p.m.
According to him, the panel members only completed the sorting out of the materials for the election around 4p.m on Tuesday because the information requested from the two parties to the election were not supplied until around 3.30p.m.
And that they are ready to move to the field to commence the election as they just finished sorting out the material because the Lagos chairman of the party only supplied important documents the panel requested for only an before the press briefing.
He said the panel held meeting with representatives of the two contestants by 8a.m. on Tuesday where they were asked to submit some important information and documents to enable the panel do proper planning which were only submitted fully by chairman of the party, Alhaji Tunde Balogun about an hour before the briefing.
Due to the political tension in the state, we have decided to be very careful and methodical with the process. As party men, peace is more important to us than victory. We are interested in the process that will be celebrated by both parties.
“And that is what we have done. We are ready to go to the field and execute this. And we aim to do it in a clinical version because Lagos is very important to us and it is the flagship for the party.
“In the next few minutes I will contact the national headquarters and inform them that we are done with the preparatory process. It takes a lot of work for the main show to take place.
“We are ready to give the state the most credible election. We will contact the national headquarters on the timing for the release of materials. It is not our fault that this exercise took this long. In some states, primary were moved to Thursday.
“We were waiting for the party chairman to provide certain information that will enable us post people to the wards. We have two aspirants and we needed to be fair to both parties. The information we demanded for came in about an hour ago. And we had to struggle this period to balance the equation.
“Now that we are ready, we will contact the national headquarters on the situation and the right time would be announced.
“We have five persons from the local organising committee and four for each ward. They will all go out to ensure the primary is conducted. We all understand the terrain in the state especially as it concerns the traffic situation. So, the materials are available now and ready for deployment.
“The national secretariat advised us to use ballot papers and we came into Lagos with thousands of them. But during the stakeholders meeting, it became obvious that the state chapter of the party wasn’t ready for such primary. They claimed that there was no time to educate the members and others. And based on the submission made at the stakeholders meeting, some changes were made.
“And we were advised to conduct the open ballot in a manner that would be objective to all parties. And that is one of the adjustment we made to accommodate views of the stakeholders. For us, the stage is set and the primary should commence any moment from now.
“We had a section with representatives of both aspirants here at about 8 am. And we asked that they bring names of their representatives that would be used for the exercise. But the names didn’t arrive early from both parties.
“We will contact the national headquarter as to the timing and release of the election materials; the materials are here, they are in impeccable condition and we can not do anything outside what we were instructed to do by the national headquarter, we are ready, the state is set, election resume anytime from now,” Ebri said.
Addressing journalists earlier at the same venue, Lagos state chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Tunde Balogun said the governorship primary election that took place through out the state yesterday was free, fair and devoid of violence and therefore credible.
He said the agents of the two parties were all present at the different wards where the election took place and that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and election observers also witnessed the election at the different venues.
“The election took place simultaneously in all the 245 wards. Some of our members were visible in the local governments, for example our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at Ikeja, his own ward.
“He took part in the election and we saw the results. The results have been signed by the agents of the two aspirants. Those result were credible because the INEC too were there and they all signed. We were all witnesses to the conduct of the election. There were no violence, no chaos, it was free , fair and transparent. That’s what I am saying.”
Asked whether any member of the NWC panel members were there, he said ‘’What I know is that I did not go round the wards. The venue I went to I saw some observers apart from the agents and INEC. They were publicly conducted, constitutionally done and I think we will leave the rest for the people and the press . That is why we have to wait for the committee charged with the responsibility to announce the results. We are not to announce the results.
Responding to the question on whether he was satisfied, he said: ‘’ I surely am satisfied for the fact that the conduct of the election were seamless, free, no chaos, no violence and people conducted themselves well.
Some APC women from Shomolu/Bariga who stormed the Protea Hotel on Tuesday complained that they were not allowed to vote in their wards because they are known supporters of Governor Ambode.
Speaking on behalf of the women who chartered taxis to the place, Oluwabunmi Adegbola from Ward J in Shomolu/Bariga accused the local government chairman and their representative at the state House of Assembly of using armed thugs to harrass known Ambode supporters, threatening to kill them and not allowing them to vote.
“There was no election in Shomolu/Bariga, there was no accreditation and no voting, they were going about with thugs wielding dangerous weapons and threatening that they will kill us that are known supporters of Ambode, there were even gun shots,” she alleged.