The All Progressives Congress has cancelled the Bayelsa State governorship primary election held on Tuesday.
The National Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, who disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday, said a new date for the election would be announced soon.
The election held in Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, the state capital, was purportedly won by a former governor of the state, Timipre Sylva, in a controversial manner.
Mr. Sylva polled 726 votes to emerge victorious. His closest rival, Timi Alaibe, a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, got four votes.
Mr. Alaibe and some of the 19 aspirants reportedly walked out of the election venue in protest before the exercise was held.
A total of 1,502 delegates were expected to participate in the primary election.
Mr. Oyegun explained that the election had to be rescheduled because of security challenges.
“The primary has been rescheduled. It had to be called off due to security challenges,” he said.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank, also dismissed Tuesday’s primary election, alleging that Mr. Sylva held a member of the Election Committee under hostage to declare him winner.
Mr. Frank dissociated the Committee Chairman, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and its secretary, from the “kangaroo primary’ as they were not present when Sylva was declared.”
“I am speaking as a concerned citizen of Bayelsa that this primary is not acceptable anywhere.
“In a situation where all other aspirants walked out of the venue and a particular aspirant put a member of the primary election committee under duress to declare him winner, while the chairman and secretary of the committee were not present.
“I believe the party will soon come up with a position on that fraud called primary election and schedule a date when an acceptable primary election will hold.”
Former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva has described the claims by the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that he truncated the electoral process during the disputed governorship primaries of the All Progressive Congress APC in the state as a deliberate “act of mischief” and “lies” .
According to him, though the Edo State Governor was the Chairman of the Election Committee and had left the venue of the primaries, the election which led to his emergence as the flag bearer of the party was free, fair and without violence as claimed by the Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
Sylva in a statement issued through his Media Adviser, Doifie Bukoribo, Wednesday night said “It is unfortunate that people like Adams Oshiomhole, the governor of Edo State and former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, 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 the Tuesday, September 22 date. The grouse of the delegates was that the primaries had been shifted once on Oshiomhole’s request. That shift caused enough hardship already.
“Second, as chairman of the APC Electoral Committee, Oshiomhole knew full well that accreditation of delegates was to begin at 8am on Tuesday, September 22, but he came to the venue of the programme well past 12 noon.
“Third, Oshiomhole cannot really say anything about the primary election because he had left the venue at the time voting commenced. Oshiomhole set the process in motion for voting to commence 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 of the exercise.”
“If he had stepped down would that have invalidated the primaries?”
“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 in order 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 was 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.”