Former Secretary to Ekiti State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, on Thursday clinched the ticket of the governing All Progressives Congress in the state for the June 18 governorship election.
Chairman, APC Governorship Primary Electoral Committee for Ekiti and Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, who declared Oyebanji winner of the primary election, said the former SSG scored 101,703 votes to defeat other aspirants.
Badaru announced that former governorship aspirant, Kayode Ojo, got 767 votes; National Assembly member, Opeyemi Bamidele, scored 760 votes; former Minister of Works, Dayo Adeyeye, secured 691 votes; and House of Representatives member, Femi Bamisile scored 400 votes.
Others are former House of Representatives member, Bamidele Faparusi, who garnered 376 votes; aviation expert, Demola Popoola, got 239 votes; and Oluwasola Afolabi scored 47 votes.
Badaru, who said the election followed the party’s guidelines, said he had not received any official complaint from any aspirant.
However, earlier in the day, seven of the eight governorship aspirants protested the list of Local Government Electoral Committees for the exercise, saying it contained names of Oyebanji’s supporters and campaigners.
The aggrieved aspirants – Bamidele; Adeyeye; Bamisile; Faparusi; Ojo; Popoola; and Afolabi, alongside their supporters stormed the state APC Secretariat where they called on the party national leadership and the Badaru-led committee to suspend the primary.
They stated, “We request that both the Local Government Election Committee and Ward Election Committee as constituted on the list already in circulation is disbanded and replaced with names that would reinforce internal democracy and uphold the aims and objectives of the party”.
The aggrieved aspirants took their grievances to the state headquarters of the Nigeria Police, Independent National Electoral Commission and the Department of State Services.
However, Oyebanji, described the primary as credible, free and fair, contrary to the position maintained by his co-contestants, who branded the poll as a sham.
He said that the APC appeal panel would handle any controversial issue surrounding the conduct of the election.
The former SSG said, “The guidelines of our party gives room for the constitution of appeal committee to attend to whatever grievances anyone has. They have the right to their opinions, but the party will come up with its position on whatever they say.”
Disproving the allegation of fraud and manipulation, Oyebanji said, “We thank God for the role of technology in our politics. The reports I got was that things are going on well. I have seen people queuing for accreditation and voted. In fact, the process has gone on seamlessly and peacefully and the committee should be commended.”
The primary held across the state despite protest by seven of the eight aspirants jostling for the governorship ticket, who called for suspension of the exercise over allegation that the local government committee members to serve as electoral members were campaigners and supporters of a particular aspirant.