From Nigeria, the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Mr. Tunde Balogun, last night declared Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the party’s governorship primary election despite that the National Working Committee panel sent from Abuja to oversee the election had declared the primary election invalid.
The panel, led by Mr. Clement Ebri, said the primary could not have held because the modality for its conduct was still being ironed out.
“First and foremost, yesterday (Monday) we held a stakeholders meeting; certain submissions were made and on the basis if these submissions, I contacted the national headquarters and they asked us to adjust the procedures in line with the provisions.
“We had a session with the representatives of both aspirants, they were here as early as 8am and at that meeting, we discussed some of these modalities and asked them to furnish us with names of people who will act as agents for this exercise.
“So, we received the list from one party about one hour ago. At one point, they brought a list for seven local governments out of 20 and about five hours later, they brought list for 11. Even the other two local governments have not been provided till this moment (4pm). Do you blame me? Will you have expected us to collect 18 from one person and 20 from another person? No.
“This is all about fairness and equity and I think at the end of the day, what we did was the best. I couldn’t have collected materials and say because the other party didn’t come, I give to the other person and say go and conduct the election.”
But Balogun, the state chairman, insisted that the poll held and that it was valid. Balogun declared that Sanwo-Olu polled 970,851 votes to defeat incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode with 72,901 votes. Balogun declared the election free and fair, thanking members of the party for coming out to vote.
“The results were signed by the agents of the two aspirants. The results were credible because INEC officials were there to witness the exercise; there was no violence,” he added.
Asked whether the NWC members were involved in the election, Balogun said he did not go round the wards, but he saw some observers apart from the agents and INEC officials.
He said, “The election was properly conducted; constitutionally done and we leave the rest for the people. The conduct of the election was seamless and there was no chaos.”
In another twist, a member of the APC from Ward E, Bariga, Somolu Local Government Area, Oluwabunmi Adetola, said the exercise was marred with violence.
She said, “The council chairman went round with thugs. They beat up people; some of our people are in hospitals. They did not allow us to vote. Anybody that wanted to vote for Ambode was not allowed to vote. There was nothing like election in Lagos.”