No APC gubernatorial primary in Bayelsa, says Oshiomhole
Contrary to reports that the All Progressives Congress (APC) held its gubernatorial primary in Bayelsa State on Tuesday and that former Governor Timipriye Silva emerged as the party’s candidate in the forthcoming governorship poll in the state, chairman of the Primaries Committee, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, has said there was no primary election in the state, alleging that the process was hijacked by Silva who he accused of bringing thugs to disrupt the process.
Speaking to journalists in Benin, Oshiomhole said he had to call for security from Abuja which authorised the army using the Joint task Force (JTF) to ferry him out of the venue after they were held hostage by thugs and Silva who he said allegedly insisted that they must conduct the election without the guideline from the National Secretariat of the party.
“I was appointed with six other members from the APC to conduct the primary election of governorship election in Bayelsa state. The exercise took place yesterday (Tuesday) but somehow, thugs took over the sports complex where the exercise was to take place. They practically prevented the actual delegates from participating and as a result, we could not proceed with the exercise. The committee was virtually held hostage including my humble self and this time, they were supervised unfortunately by one of the aspirants, the former governor of the state Timipriye Silva who said to my face and to the committee that we cannot leave the venue of the conference unless we conduct the exercise without accreditation as prescribed by the National Secretariat of the (APC).”
“It is important that we state clearly that the National Secretariat has adopted a standard guideline for the conduct of gubernatorial primaries and this guideline were used effectively in Kogi state and it produced a candidate in which all the aspirants were quite happy with. The key issues in this guideline as handed down by the party is that de legates as contained in the list have to be identified either though the Permanent Voters Card, or the National Identity Card or International Passport. This was to ensure that proper accreditation was done because the integrity of an election rests primary on the integrity of the accreditation process, once the accreditation suffers any defect, it affects the entire exercise, as they, you cannot build something on nothing.”
“Whereas all the aspirants agreed with this guideline, it is only Silva that did not agree with it, he rejected this mode of accreditation and chose to accuse the National Secretariat of formulating the guideline to frustrate his ambition. Every effort made to reassure him and direct his attention to the fact that same guidelines have been used and that they are standard guidelines that will be used in future elections fell on deaf ears. He insisted that we cannot leave the place unless we are ready to conduct the election without recourse to accreditation as stipulated by the party and of-course I was not in a position to amend the guideline nor was I ready to submit to his intimidation.”
“When it became clear that he has mobilised thugs in connivance with the police, these thugs without accreditation found their way into the stadium and insisted that we must conduct the election based on their own rules, Silva insisted that it is the state executive that must conduct the election and not the national body and that it was wrong for the national body to conduct election without the state secretariat.”
“When it became clear that our lives were under threat, I have to call Abuja to prevail on the army, the JTF to provide me with security to enable me leave the venue because the thugs have effectively blocked the gate under the instructions of Silva.”
He said he has since forwarded the report to the National Secretariat and believed that the party would fix a new date for proper accreditation and fresh conduct of the primaries.
“Several people were apprehended with cloned cards, they were handed over to the police but were curiously released by the police and allowed them to harass and intimidate members of the committee and other aspirants.”