A group known as PVC-NAIJA has urged the Chairman of the Caretaker and Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, to disband the Ekiti State Primary Election Committee headed by Jigawa State governor, Mohammed Abubakar Badaru.
This followed an exclusive story by SaharaReporters that the Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, paid N1.2billion to members of the committee to ensure that his ‘anointed’ candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, a former Secretary to Ekiti State Government, emerged representative of the party ahead of the June 18, 2022 election in the state.
Sources said Fayemi had mounted pressure on Buni to replace Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State with Badaru as chairman of the committee.
The plan to replace Governor Sule, who was put forward by Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, with Badaru created apprehension among APC members in Ekiti but at the end the party danced to the tune of Fayemi by announcing the latter as head of the committee.
Reacting, PVC-NAIJA National President, Dr Bolaji Akinyemi, in a statement said no credible primary can be achieved or guaranteed with “Badaru, a known ally of Governor Kayode Fayemi, who is a strong backer of one of the aspirants, Biodun Oyebanji, superintending over the conduct of the shadow poll”.
He added that for the APC caretaker committee to continually earn the respect of members and protect their corporate integrity, the Jigawa State governor should be removed with immediate effect.
According to Akinyemi, the conduct of any election starts with a credible primary and that the APC could not afford to compromise the integrity of the June 18 poll in Ekiti.
He added that the party committed a grave error by allegedly supplanting the name of Sule with that of Badaru, describing this as suspect and bedrock for the perpetration of electoral heist that could tear the party apart.
He said, “As an alliance for credible electoral process, we are concerned about the decision of the CECPC to change Nasarawa State governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule as the Chairman of the 2022 Ekiti State Gubernatorial Primary Election without due consultation and explanation.
“We are also concerned about the unilateral appointment of Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Badaru to replace Governor Abdullahi Sule. This decision is arbitrary, undemocratic and unethical. It is a design to favour Fayemi’s anointed candidate, and it must not be encouraged in the interest of our struggling democracy.
“On this note, we strongly believe Governor Badaru cannot be a fair umpire being an ally of Fayemi and being one of the few governors promoting Fayemi’s presidential aspiration for 2023. He should either recuse himself from the state’s primary election to clear his name or the CECPC should excuse him from the process.
“Governor Badaru must not be allowed to preside over the primary election if the CECPC must leave a legacy of credibility in Ekiti State. We are concerned about allegations that Fayemi has been working with the Badaru committee to influence the process with a whopping sum of N1.2billion.
“At a time the people of Ekiti are lamenting acute infrastructure deficit and massive youth unemployment, we are surprised such an amount could be deployed to circumvent the will of the people. There are allegations that result of the process has already been prepared ahead of the primary and will be handed the Badaru committee for announcement.
“On these grounds, we are calling the CECPC under the chairmanship of Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni to immediately review all its decisions with respect to the 2022 Ekiti State Gubernatorial Primary Election.
“As a non-partisan coalition, we cannot believe the Badaru committee can be an independent umpire because his nomination falls short of democratic standards and allegations against his committee raises questions about his complicity.
“We, hereby, request that an entirely new committee be constituted with due consultation of all stakeholders at the state and national levels.”
The activist added that Badaru’s removal became expedient in view of the negative reactions his appointment had generated among aspirants and to also give a clear picture that APC was thoroughly democratic and ready to be fair and just to all aspirants.
Speaking about the homefront of Ekiti, Akinyemi stated that in different reports, Governor Fayemi and APC under the chairmanship of Paul Omotoso, had been accused of favouring, sponsoring or supporting one of the aspirants seeking its nomination.
He added, “But we are surprised that Ekiti APC and Fayemi have not made good their promises for working in support of the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, as reported in the media and shown in Fayemi’s recent scheming.”
He also raised serious doubts about the security of lives and property during the primary, alleging that sources revealed that some members of driver unions had been hired to disrupt the conduct of the primary in areas where opposition figures are strong.
“The security of the APC direct primary is now a source of grave concern for us. Our recent survey has showed that the Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation is in alliance with the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
“It is now an open secret that the organisation has perfected plans to use political thugs, especially members of the NURTW to gain advantage during the direct primary on Thursday. All security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police and DSS, must investigate this allegation and deploy its intelligence all arsenals to nip the plan in the bud,” he said.