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Thursday 6 October 2016

APC's National Vice-Chairman Clears the Air on Akeredolu's Emergence, Fault Claims of Fraud by Akinyelure

John Odigie-Oyegun
Pius Akinyelure's claim that the National Chairman of the APC singlehandedly overturned a decision by the NWC in favour of the party's gubernatorial candidate in Ondo has been faulted with a new development. The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress appears far from over as party leaders have continued to give conflicting versions over the controversial Ondo State governorship primary of the party.

The APC’s National Vice-Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta, who spoke on behalf of other members of the party’s National Working Committee on Wednesday in Abuja, faulted the claim by his South-West counterpart, Pius Akinyelure, on the NWC’s decision on the appeal panel on the primary.

Akinyelure had alleged that the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun; National Secretary, Mai Buni’ and the National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso, were the brains behind the “rigging” of the said primary election according to the Punch.

Eta described Akinyelure’s claim as false and an attempt to please an unnamed benefactor. He also dismissed claim that members overwhelmingly voted in favour of the adoption of the appeal committee report.

The national vice-chairman stated, “We have read various newspaper reports but I can tell you that no vote was taken (on the issue of submission of Akeredolu’s name). Before we met on the last day for the submission of name to INEC, we had met three times earlier. In that meeting, there were two reports before the NWC – that of the appeal committee was voted on.

“That very day, we were 14 in number, not 11 as we have it in the media. Thirteen of us voted for the appeal committee report to be thrown out; only one person voted for us to retain the report and that person was the National Vice-Chairman, North-Central, Alhaji Zakari Indeh. Pius Akinyelure voted that the report should be thrown out.

‘‘After that, we mandated our National Chairman and Secretary to go out and do wider consultations so that we can have a political solution to the heated environment the situation has caused the party.

“When they returned, they told us of their efforts to reach many people for a political solution but it was very clear to us that we were not going to have political solutions.

“We had to go through the procedure as we have it in our constitution, which is that when you send a team to conduct an election and there is a petition on their report, it is the NWC, as the appellant institution, that has the power to consider the merits of the election committee report and that of the appeal committee report.

“If the appeal committee’s report is thrown out, the only report that is left is the election committee report.”

Eta explained that the party’s national chairman almost made a procedural error by asking those at the meeting to vote, saying it was the national organising secretary, Izunaso, who drew his attention to the procedural error.

He added that it was agreed that the only report by the Governor Badaru Abubakar-led governorship primary election committee was left for adoption.

Eta said, “For Pius Akinyelure to start a fight that his preferred candidate didn’t win election is uncalled for. He shouldn’t be finding faults in the NWC. He should go back to Ondo himself, with his team and the candidate that he prefers.

“It is very vexatious; it is very annoying that a man, who also voted that the report of the appeal committee should be thrown out, is now crying foul because he has no story to tell his master.”

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