Ekiti APC: Tight security as primary holds today
There are fears and controversies over the rescheduled governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State holding on Saturday (today).
The security agencies have uncovered a plot to disrupt the primary once again as done last Saturday when thugs smashed ballot boxes to the ground.
There were insinuations that some aspirants had resolved to ensure the primary failed to hold at all cost.
The plot was hatched to frustrate the perceived domineering influence of an aspirant on the conduct of the primary.
The aspirant is believed to enjoy the backing of the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
To counter the plot, it was learnt that some aspirants, who held the fear that the primary would be manipulated to give him an undue advantage, were plotting a consensus.
“The plot is that if the primary is frustrated, the party will have no time to organise another primary. The option will then be a consensus candidate or voting among aspirants.”
Findings by our correspondent revealed that no fewer than 10 mobile units were expected for the primary.
As of press time, five mobile policemen units were already on ground.
They are Mobile Unit 02 from Keffi, Obalende Lagos; Unit 37 from Lokoja, Kogi State; Unit 39 Osogbo, Osun State; Unit 15 Ilorin, Kwara State and 22 Odudua, Ikeja, Lagos.
Sixty three mobile policemen make a unit.
Lending credence to the plot to disrupt the primary, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps said it had uncovered a plot to disrupt the primary again by politicians. The Deputy Commandant General, Ahmed Jega, disclosed this at a press briefing in Ado Ekiti on Friday.
He said, “About 2000 men have been mobilised. I want to urge our men to be vigilant and ready to face any challenge. We must not compromise we must be neutral.
“Any staff found wanting or compromising will be officially sanctioned. Staff must be at their duty post.”
Asked why deploying a huge number of his men, Jega said, “We have a security report that some thugs want to destabilise the process and it is part of our responsibility to maintain peace.” Also speaking, the Chairman of the APC Electoral Committee and Nasarawa Governor, Umaru Al-Makura, promised massive security within and outside the venue of the primary on Saturday. He said the committee had discovered that there were fake and spurious observers at the aborted primary.
Al-Makura spoke at a meeting with aspirants and stakeholders in Ado Ekiti.
He said, “There will be no observer for the primary. Only statutory observers: INEC and observers from the National secretariat will be allowed.
“The National secretariat have changed the ballot papers, it is completely new with clear photograph. Aspirants should come alone; for the period of the election leave your escort behind.” Briefing journalists later on the state of preparedness, the governor said accreditation would begin at 8.00 am.
The media parley was attended by the new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bello Ahmed; Director of Department of State Services, Mrs. Promise Iheanacho; Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr. Donatus Ikemefuna and Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Ismaila Kugu.
Al-Makura, said 2, 618 delegates would elect the standard bearer of the party while stating that the committee, in collaboration with security agencies, would not allow the exercise to be disrupted or manipulated by anybody.
Al-Makura said, “Any delegate accredited won’t be allowed to go out for any reason. Any delegate that enters the arena must be identified by his party membership card, and extra statutory identity like International Passport, Driver’s Licence and National ID Card.
“Such delegates must be identified with the list given to us by the National Secretariat. All accreditation must be completed for delegates from all the senatorial zones before voting starts. Voting will be done once at a time and it will start with delegates from Ekiti South, the farthest, then to Ekiti North and Ekiti Central, the closest. After identification, delegates will be given ballot paper and they will submit their delegates tag for punching and the will also submit the ropes of their tags.”
He added that some agents that were barred for their involvement in the fracas that broke out in the botched primary would be arrested if found in the vicinity of the primary.
Al-Makura disclosed that some of the hoodlums arrested for disrupting the primary were already being prosecuted in the court. He sought for the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure a successful primary saying the panel would be fair to all. Apart from security concerns, aspirants have also engaged themselves in rumour mongering and propaganda.
There was a rumour that a former Commissioner for Budgeting under Kayode Fayemi’s administration, Debo Ajayi, had stepped down for his former boss.
But Ajayi in a swift response through Debo Ranti Ajayi Campaign Organisation, denied working for Fayemi.
He said, “This is a grossly unfair, incongruous and libellous falsehood that has been addressed in the past as a fabrication of the imagination of mischief makers.
“It is most unfortunate that some persons, who are insecure about their chances at the coming primaries, are bent on perpetrating these lies and rumours.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, my aspiration is a call to service and a response to the agitation of the South Senatorial district to produce the next governor. My motives are borne out of a commitment to the Ekiti Restoration project and the desire to offer my expertise, both as a technocrat and politician, to provide unparalled leadership and the best governance in the service of Ekiti-land.
“It is impossible for a man led by a divine call to be a mere front for another candidate. I therefore intend to participate and if God be true, intend to win in the primary elections.”
It will be recalled that the Special Adviser on Politics to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, on Thursday withdrew from the Ekiti governorship race.
Ojudu said he withdrew his ambition in the interest of the party owing to the growing tension among aspirants on the primary. Punch