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Ondo APC Primary Marred by Violence and Discrepancies as Governor Aiyedatiwa Takes Lead

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AKURE, Nigeria – Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa is poised to become the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate for the upcoming gubernatorial election on November 16, 2024, in Ondo State.

However, the APC primary process, which began on Saturday, April 20, 2024, was overshadowed by significant violence and procedural discrepancies, raising concerns about the integrity of the election.

The governorship primary, which took place yesterday, did not proceed smoothly across the state.

Reports indicate that in most of the 203 wards, voting was either disrupted or did not occur at all due to violence and logistical issues.

Notably, in Idanre Local Council, political thugs fired shots to intimidate non-supporters, while chaos in Okitipupa Ward 1 led to the dispersal of party members who had gathered to vote.

An anonymous voter described a scene of confusion: “One of the agents arrived here, seized the validation and accreditation papers, and fled in his car. They tried to chase him but couldn’t catch up, which led to the disruption of the process.”

In Ajue, Ward 3 of Odigbo Local Council, allegations surfaced that results were pre-written on cardboard paper before official voting began.

Amidst these disruptions, Governor Aiyedatiwa voted in Ugbo Ward 4, Oberla, Ilaje Local Council, where he expressed confidence in the democratic process and urged for unity within the party.

“This marks a special homecoming for me,” he stated, emphasising his roots and commitment to transparency and fairness in the party’s candidate selection process.

Nevertheless, several other governorship aspirants have contested the legitimacy of the primary, describing it as a “sham.”

Aspirants including Gbenga Edema, Wale Akinterinwa, Olusola Oke, and Prof. Dayo Faduyile called for the cancellation of the primary, citing non-adherence to procedural guidelines.

Edema voiced his concerns, saying, “What we are asking for is a credible election. So, we are asking the leadership of the party to look into this. If they are not ready for this election, they should postpone it and the right thing should be done.”

The situation was further complicated by an incident involving the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, who allegedly assaulted a journalist from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ondo State has called for his indefinite suspension and a thorough investigation into the assault, describing the behaviour as “barbaric and unacceptable.”

As the APC grapples with these internal conflicts and allegations of misconduct, the integrity of the electoral process within the party remains under scrutiny.

The outcomes of this primary and the subsequent responses from party leadership could significantly influence the political landscape in Ondo State as it approaches the gubernatorial election.

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