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All set for APC primary

…INEC, security agencies ready

…Ododo heads c’ttee

By Tola Gbadamosi & Jubril Bada

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All is now set for the conduct of the governorship primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo state.

In the much anticipated gubernatorial primary slated for tomorrow, Saturday, 16  aspirants in high spirit are jostling for the party’s gubernatorial ticket.

Already, the party had opted for direct primary to select its standard bearer ahead of the November governorship election in the state.

The 16 aspirants already cleared by the APC Screening Committee include, the incumbent Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), Wale Akinterinwa, Isaacs Kekemeke, Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo, Folakemi Omogoroye, Olusoji Ehinlanwo, John  Odimayo, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, and Oladiran Iyanjan.

Others are, Mayowa Akinfolarin, Olugbenga Edema, Prof. Adedayo Faduyile, Brigadier-General Felix Ohunyeye,(rtd) Morayo Lebi and Ifeoluwa Oyedele.

The National body of the APC had constituted seven-man Committee headed by the Kogi State Governor, Usman Ododo, to superintend the primary election on Saturday.

In the build up to the primary, aspirants had toured the length and breadth of the 18 local government areas of the state to interface with party leaders and members to canvass their  support and votes.

The primary will hold across the 203 political wards.

Speaking with The Hope, on Thursday, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , Mrs.Oluwatoyin Babalola, declared the readiness of the commission to monitor the primary.

She disclosed that the APC has notified the commission of their intentions to participate in the November election and the date of their primaries with the direct mode of the exercise.

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The REC noted that the exercise will be monitored by the commission as stipulated by the constitution, and reports will be given based on its observation.

Babalola assured the readiness of the electoral body to ensure the party conducts its primary according to the electoral law and the party’s constitution.

“Basically, the conduct of primary is the responsibility of political parties, and as electoral body, ours is to monitor the activity to ensure they conduct the party’s primary in accordance with the provisions of the electoral law and  party’s constitution.

“As regard the APC primary coming up on Saturday, we are ready for the monitoring as the party has adopted the direct mode of primary and we will report based on what we observe,” she stressed.

While reacting to fake membership cards printed by some people ahead of the Saturday’s primary, Babalola explained that the printing of membership card is the duty of party to differentiate between authentic and fake cards.

The REC advised all political parties to play according to the rules and provide level playing field for all their aspirants.

She further urged them not to encourage any form of violence and refrain from hate speeches capable of heating up the polity.

Speaking on the security arrangement towards ensuring a hitch-free primary election, security chiefs in the state expressed their readiness to ensure that the exercise is conducted under a peaceful atmosphere.

The State Commissioner of Police, CP Abayomi Oladipo, yesterday said all hands are on deck to ensure a free and fair primary election.

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The CP who spoke with The Hope through the state PPRO, Fumilayo Odulami -Omisanya, also warned politicians against any act of violence before, during and after the exercise.

“This is not the first time we will be doing primaries and we have improved on so many things. We are well acquainted with the electoral law, so we know what to do, and our men are properly trained.

“The major issue should be contestants talking to their people. They should all embrace the spirit of sportsmanship. After the whole primary election, if anybody is not comfortable with whatever happens there, that is why there is a tribunal.

“They should employ only legal means. They should not take to the street or cause trouble in the state. So, the aspirants should talk to their people,” the CP added.

Also, in an interview with The Hope, the State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Ibiloye Oluyemi, hinted that election is not new to them and that they are fully prepared as always done, to ensure that the exercise is a huge success and devoid of rancour.

According to him; “We have 203 Wards where the election would be taking place. We are deploying our officers massively, not just because of the election, we are also mindful of the fact that other security issues like the Oodua Nation agitators and other issues that might come up.

“You know there is going to be a lot of crowd when it comes to the issue of primary election because some people might want to hide under the election and that is why we will be deploying massively to the various wards and to ensure that physical national assets of government are protected during Saturday’s primary election.

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“All heads of security agencies had meeting where lots of security issues came up and undoubtedly, we are strategising towards ensuring that tomorrow’s primary election is free and fair, and to ensure that voters perform their civic responsibilities without being molested by anyone,” he assured.

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All set for APC primary

Aiyedatiwa rounds off LGs tour

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