Guber elections: Legal tussle looms in Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa over controversial primaries

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The governorship primary elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa States have ended in controversies.

Expectedly, the judiciary would eventually decide the authentic candidates of the various political parties, with some facing outright disqualification over issues of delegates’ list.

Most of the governorship aspirants are crying foul over the conduct of the primary elections.

In Kogi State, aspirants like Senator Smart Adeyemi, former Minister of State Labour and Productivity, Professor Stephen Ocheni, son of late ex-Governor Abubakar Audu Shuiabu, and a member of the National Working Committee of the APC, Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, had decried the conduct of the APC governorship primaries.

Adeyemi maintained that there was no primary election in the state, adding that the APC flagbearer, Usman Ododo was rigged into clinching the ticket.

He alleged that electoral materials were distributed to all the local government chairmen in the state to thumbprint, a situation that led to Ododo’s victory.

The Kogi West Senator noted that all the governorship aspirants could not vote because electoral materials were diverted from their wards.

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State allegedly held a meeting with his counterpart from Zamfara State, Mohammed Matawalle, where he anointed Usman Ododo.

An insider, who spoke anonymously with our correspondent on the matter, said the grievances expressed by the aspirants might pave the way for judicial redress.

The source said: “A day before the primary election, a meeting was allegedly held between Bello, who is the leader of the party in the state and Governor Mohammed Matawalle, who is the Returning Officer, where the governor declared that Usman Ododo would be his candidate, and asked others to step down for him.

“And as it happened, people came out that Friday all over Kogi State and there was nothing to show that there was an election.

“There is going to be a legal tussle because a pre-action notice has been issued by Smart Adeyemi alleging that the whole exercise was a sham.”

The scenario is not different with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where a former Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, is faulting the primary election that produced Dino Melaye as the party’s governorship candidate.

Awoniyi warned that Melaye’s emergence as PDP governorship candidate was dangerous.

A similar scenario also played out in Bayelsa State, as one of the leading governorship aspirants, Festus Daumiebi, rejected the results of the APC primary election.

Daumiebi, who also called for the cancellation of the outcome of the Friday primary, said the process was undermined, marred by irregularities, and heavily compromised by officials of the party.

Also rejecting the outcome of the primary election, another aspirant, David Lyon, described it as “irresponsible and criminal.”

In Imo State, factions of the LP held two parallel primary elections over the weekend.

The Abia State Governor-Elect, Alex Otti, was the returning officer and chairman of the electoral panel for the Awuzie-led faction.

The inability of the political parties to conduct acceptable primary elections have been linked to greed and quest for power at all cost.

An Abuja-based lawyer, Deji Adeyanju, however, said legal tussle would continue to form part of the process with the action of politicians.

“The quest for power at all cost is responsible for why political parties can’t conduct an election that is generally acceptable by their members.

“Politicians are generally selfish by nature; they are not willing to play by the rules. You can see what is happening in Adamawa, where Binani fraudulently stole the mandate of the people, so it’s the same all over the place.

“I’m not optimistic that anything different would happen in those states, and I don’t think Nigeria would get it right because the political actors will continue not to act right, and once they don’t, you should not expect anything significant or positive to happen,” he said.

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