Ondo APC primary: Election to hold in 13 Okitipupa wards today – Gov Ododo

Governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo

The Chairman of the Ondo State Primary Election Committee, Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State, has announced that polls will be conducted in all 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state by 12 noon on Sunday (today).

In a statement he signed, the governor said: “Having received reports of the primary election from the 203 wards in the 18 local governments of Ondo State, the primary election committee has decided that election will be conducted in all the 13 Wards of Okitipupa local government with total validated registered members of 9,515, because of validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the local government due to late arrival of materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

“Election in Okitipupa local government shall be conducted 12 noon on Sunday 21st April 2024. The final collation of the results will be done thereafter.”

The Kogi State governor had hailed the exercise which commenced on Saturday.

He described it as transparent and lauded stakeholders and members of the party in Ondo State for their “orderly conduct and massive turnout during the direct primary election in the state”.

“I have received reports from our committee members and security agencies as well as NGOs monitoring the election including video footage and I can say that the process has been transparent and we are going to produce a candidate that will unify the APC ahead of the November 2024 governorship election in the state,” his media aide Ismaila Isah quoted him as saying in a statement on Saturday.

However, two aspirants and the agents of two other contestants have raised concerns about the conduct of the primary election.

They alleged that based on the conduct of the exercise, plans are being made to favour certain aspirants.

Olugbenga Edema, who is one of the 16 aspirants in the race for the APC ticket, decried delays in the distribution of materials and called on the party to investigate the process.

“What we are talking about is there should be a credible election that will allow our people to vote and their votes should count,” he said.

“So we are asking the leadership of the party to look into this. If they are not ready for this election, let them postpone it so that the right thing should be done.”

Rotimi Williams, the agent for another aspirant, Senior Advocate of Nigeria Olushola Oke, had a similar position.

“We got to this place around 6:30 am this morning. We don’t know when and where the alleged material was sent out to the Ondo South Senatorial District. We are not aware of when those materials were sent out of this place,” he said around 11 am.

In a statement it released on Saturday, the Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation described the exercise as a “sham”.

Shola Ajisafe, the agent of Adewale Akinterinwa, backed the narrative by Edema and Willams.

“My people have been calling me. No material has been distributed to them,” Ajisafe who is from Ondo North said, accusing Governor Ododo of working in favour of a candidate.

He added, “Any act or action that reduces the capacity for our people to openly and freely exercise their democratic rights is anti-democratic.”

He said the remedy to what had happened was to set another day for the primary and to remove the Kogi Governor as the leader of the election committee.