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APC Primary: Oshiomhole, Sylva trade words

Paul Yovo chronicles the hot public exchange of words between ex-Governor Timipreye Sylva and Governor Adams Oshiomhole over the outcome of the APC governorship primary in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State


The last is yet to be heard of Tuesday’s Bayelsa APC governorship primary as the victor and former Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva and the Chairman of the Electoral Committee and governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole have taken their disagreement over the outcome to the public domain, calling each other unprintable names.

Oshiomhole who was smuggled out of the Samson Siasia stadium, Yenagoa, venue of the primary, by the JTF to save him from been consumed by the violence and mayhem that characterized the event had dismissed the outcome as a fraud and call for cancellation.

He said that as afar he was concerned, the primary did not take place and because former governor of the state, Syva was desperate to win, he employed tugs to violate the democratic process. In a prompt reaction, Sylva has dismissed the claims by Oshiomhole that he scuttled the event.

In a statement in Yenagoa, the state capital, by his Media Adviser, Doifie Buokoribo, the former governor said: “It is unfortunate that people like Oshiomhole, who pretend to be incorruptible, would conduct himself in the manner in which he did in relation to the Bayelsa State governorship primary. It was clear that Oshiomhole never wanted to conduct the primary as scheduled.

“First, on his request, the primary was shifted from its earlier date of Saturday, September 19, to Tuesday, September 22. The grouse of the delegates was that the primary had been shifted once at Oshiomhole’s request. That shift caused enough hardship already.

The ‘comrade’ was again shifting the goal post, without giving consideration to the hapless delegates. It was that frustration that we were managing. It is so sad that the governor did not appreciate our effort. “Second, as chairman of the APC Electoral Committee, Oshiomhole knew that accreditation of delegates was to begin at 8am …but he came to the venue of the programme well past noon.

After he arrived at that late hour, he proceeded with a meeting with the committee members and another meeting with the aspirants. He clearly had preconceived plans about the Bayelsa APC governorship primary. “Third, Oshiomhole cannot really say anything about the primary because he left the venue at the time voting began.

Oshiomhole set the process in motion for voting to begin before he excused himself on the grounds that he was going to eat, and he mandated other members of the committee to carry on without him. “The world needs to know that the Bayelsa State Electoral Committee is made up of seven members and, of the seven, only Oshiomhole left. The other six remained, conducted the primary and declared Sylva winner.

“Fourth, it bothers on pettiness for Oshiomhole to quote me as the antagonist to new entrants to our party. Every discussion I had with the governor was public. The only private conversation I had with him was when he walked up to me and asked me if I truly believed he was working against my interest.

To that I answered ‘YES’. As a man of integrity, he even offered to step down as chairman. If he had stepped down, would that have invalidated the primary? We should refrain from exaggerating our worth and integrity. Let other good people judge our character.

“After all, I was the one that received all new entrants. Oshiomhole was invited and he did not come. “Fifth, Oshiomhole came to Yenagoa with a clear agenda, which was to get me out of the race at all cost. We are aware that he had been lobbying at the centre to get me out of the race to pave the way for one of the aspirants.

Indeed, one of the aspirants had boasted openly that Oshiomhole would cancel the primary once he arrived, shortly before his arrival. “Oshiomhole should not tell lies; if I were not there, contrary to his insinuation that I rented thugs to manhandle him, the crowd would have manhandled him.

I personally accompanied Oshiomhole to the gate when he was going to eat”. M Oshiomhole who made his statement in Benin, the Edo State capital has also accused the Nigerain Police, Bayelsa State command for compromising the primary in the state.

He alleged that from the action of the police, it was evident that officers of the command compromised the electoral process. He said in spite of the heavy presence of security personnel dispatched to the Samson Siasia Stadium, venue of the election, thugs still found their way into the stadium effortlessly and disrupted the exercise.

He explained that while some of the thugs were apprehended and handed over to the police, the state police authority saw nothing wrong in their action as they were immediately released.

Mr. Oshiomhole said that the election did not hold as thugs took over the electoral process and the police were helpless, adding that it took the efforts of the JTF to control the situation at the stadium.

He said the chaos that characterised the primary does not conform to the guidelines issued by the party for the conduct of governorship primary.

He said that the APC national secretariat adopted a standard guidelines used in the Kogi gubernatorial primary which produced a winner without any problem in August.

The key issues in the guidelines, the governor explained, were identification of delegates with their Permanent Voter Card, National ID or International Passport.

Mr. Oshiomhole said that while all the other aspirants agreed with the guidelines, former governor Timipre Silva disagreed and accused the party of formulating a guideline to frustrate his ambition.

He said that the action of the former governor showed that he had no fate in the democratic process, saying that “whoever wins does not matter but the process that produced the winner.’’

He said that he had sent a detailed report of what transpired during the primary to the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. He said that in his report, he suggested a new date for the conduct of the primary.

Mr. Oshiomhole also accused officials of the APC executive in Bayelsa of conducting parallel primary instead of working with representatives of the party from the national headquarters sent to conduct the election.

He said that he and the secretary of the committee did not announce any result neither did they issue any certificate of return.

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