Bayelsa APC leader insists on Sylva’s victory
THE Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe, has said the party in the state stands by the victory of former governor and leader of the party, Chief Timipre Sylva at the governorship primary held last week.
The primary election has generated a lot of controversy following alleged claimed that Sylva emerged winner through a ‘kangaroo’ arrangement.
The election was said to be allegely marred by violence which resulted in more than 15 aspirants scampering for safety as well as members of the Election Committee headed by Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, being ‘held hostage in the venue.’
Oshiomhole has since claimed that Sylva’s thugs held him hostage in an attempt to force him to conduct the primary in the midst of violence.
The Edo governor was said to have been rescued by the combined forces of the military and operatives of the Department of State Security on the orders of the Chief of Defence Staff.
But Orunimighe, who insisted that the primary had been won and lost, said the reported cancellation of the election was baseless and unfounded.
He said, “As chairman of Bayelsa APC, I am not aware of any cancellation of the primary. With all due respect to the National Chairman of our party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, he said nobody should make any announcement except they cleared with him.
“I want to believe that people who made statements from the National Secretariat did not get clearance from him (Oyegun). As the state chairman, I am aware that the rumour of cancellation came even when we were still on the election ground. It was all over the social media. I think it was made by one of their publicists. After that, Odigie-Oyegun directed that nobody should make any statement without obtaining clearance from him.
“The National Chairman is a man who knows his onions. Having set up an election panel, he knows the next thing is to wait for the outcome or report of the committee set up to administer the primary. Maybe they will set up an appeal committee. We are expecting that by Monday or Tuesday (yesterday). So, I believe the cancellation rumour does not stand.
“For now, the election has been held and I think that is how it stands. Chief Timipre Sylva won the primary conducted Tuesday last week.”
The chairman said he believed that some aspirants may be aggrieved, adding that the party was working towards addressing their grievances ahead of the December 5, 2015 governorship poll.
He exonerated himself of being biased during the primary, stressing that in a contest of that nature tongues were bound to wag.
He stated, “I do not know who accused us. We are not biased. As the chairman, I believe that I have managed the party to the best of my ability. When it came to the period of voting, I was also a delegate.
“The system of voting was the open secret ballot system, and I cast my vote for the aspirant I liked and I felt the aspirant is the person that can win an election for us. But if you say I supported a candidate, I do not know what you mean.
“Those who aspired may have a lot of things to say and for me, the contest is all about win and loss. So, for me, I know that our primary has come and gone. We look forward to seeing how we can reconcile aggrieved parties ourselves.”
When reminded that the disputed candidate, Sylva, did not have Certificate Of Return to identify him as the party’s flag bearer, Orunimighe said the COR is an internal matter of the party.
He said Sylva was not given the certificate because Oshiomhole, who was supposed to present it had gone on the excuse that he was going to eat.
However, he said the seven-man panel including the secretary was there to conduct the election.
He said the delay in the presentation of the certificate to Sylva was not unconnected with the exit of Oshiomhole, hoping that soon the certificate would be presented to the winner.
The chairman denied claims that Oshiomhole was not present during the primary, saying that it was Oshiomhole that started the accreditation.