The All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship primary in Ekiti State was on Saturday stalemated with exercise suspended indefinitely over violence that erupted on alleged fraud being perpetrated by a particular aspirant.
Before the decision was taken, there was a serious violence at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium, venue of the exercise, as agents of some strong contenders accused security agencies of allegedly compromising the process in favour of former governor Kayode Fayemi.
The Chairman of the APC Primary and Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, who hurriedly entered his vehicle and left the venue after a meeting with the 33 aspirants on the need to extract commitments from them for peaceful poll, did not officially brief the press on the pact reached with the stakeholders.
But two aspirants, Hon Bimbo Daramola and former Speaker, Hon, Femi Bamisile, said it was a unanimous verdict at the meeting that the process should be suspended indefinitely.
Daramola said: “There was an issue somewhere about the exercise and they raised observation about sharp practices that had compromised the process , which led to protest and the feeling was that the process should be suspended to avoid bloodshed”.
On the allegation that Fayemi was leading with a wide margin and that that led to the protest, Daramola stated that : “I don’t believe that is correct. The results have not been counted, so that was an assumption .
“Ekiti APC is not in any way fractured, we are one big family. If Fayemi defeats us, we are all going to back him, because the party is supreme. But this must come through a free, fair and credible process”.
Only delegates from four local governments had concluded their voting and was on the turn of the fifth council when the violence erupted .
Trouble started at about 5.30pm when some agents raised observations about how the process was being allegedly compromised, accusing men of the Department of State Services (DSS) of dictating to delegates who they should vote for.
Police and other security agencies shot sporadically into the air when the situation was escalating into a full blown violence among the camps.
As r the time of writing this report, Oluyemi Kayode stadium, venue of the exercise was scanty as delegates have escaped out of the venue to seek refuge in the nearby buildings.
The agents were those representing Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Ayo Arise , Hon Femi Bamisile and other strong contenders in the race.
Efforts made by the Nasarawa State Governor to calm down frayed nerves were rebuffed.
They accused an agent to Fayemi , Mr. Samuel Abejide of dictating to delegates who to vote for and also writing the serial numbers of their ballot papers to authenticate who they actually voted for, probably for pecuniary gains after the poll.
The agents’ protest had attracted their principals and other interested parties, who joined the fray and made spirited efforts to grab the ballot boxes to stall the entire process.
They threw sachet water indiscriminately while also chanting derisive songs against the former governor.
They were , however, prevented by DSS and police and sister agencies from gaining access to where the ballot boxes containing already thumb printed papers, were placed.
Security agencies also arrested one man for allegedly trying to grab the ballot box and he was stripped naked and was being taken to the custody
The Director General of Babafemi Ojudu Campaign Organisation, Chief Ranti Adebisi complained that the process has been heavily compromised
“The guideline stipulated that each aspirant can only bring in four supporters, but Fayemi brought many. His agents, including DSS were issuing cards to delegates to fill when they vote for him , so that they can later come for the money he promised them.
“I contested against Fayemi in 2007 and I knew what I’m talking about. The process has been compromised. Even, Fayemi has been bragging around that he is friend to Alhaji Tanko Al –Makura, so we are disappointed that this could happen,” he said.
Also, an APC chieftain, Mr. Femi Afolabi alleged that the process has been compromised by some security agencies, whom he said were dictating who they should vote for after authentication.
But Fayemi’s agent said it was a gang up against the Minister that led to the spurious allegations, accusing those peddling rumour as enemies of APC.
“It was a proviso that if you are a delegate who can’t read and write, you can call any of the agents. When they saw that I was the one being called, they started feeling the heat and they were determined to disrupt it,” the agent said.