News Punch had yesterday reported that there was a palpable confusion on how the former Nigeria Bar Association Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu's name was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC despite the contrary decision of the National Working Committee, who had backed the decision of the Appeal Panel to nullify the election based on the glaring evidence received.
Fresh report according to The Nation has revealed how the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Chief John Odigie Oyegun, overruled the majority decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) for a fresh primary to pick the party’s governorship candidate for the November 26 election in Ondo State, it was learnt yesterday.
The party’s Appeal Committee, headed by Mrs Helen Bendega, recommended the cancellation of the disputed primary which produced Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and a fresh primary.
After meeting for three days, sources said the 12-member NWC failed to reach a consensus. It decided to vote on the outcome. The 13th member of the body elected not to participate.
The two motions voted on are:
- Adoption of the recommendation of the Appeal Panel to cancel the primaries that allegedly produced Akeredolu and conduct a fresh one; and
- to submission of the Vice Chairman (South-west zone) Akinyelure’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to beat the deadline, pending the resolution of the logjam.
It was learnt that six members voted to uphold the recommendation of the Appeal Panel, which is a fresh primary. Five members voted to upturn the report of the panel and retain Akeredolu as candidate.
But, contrary to the normal procedure that the chairman could only cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie, Oyegun decided to overrule the majority decision already reached by six members.
He reportedly forwarded Akeredolu’s name to INEC as the party’s candidate.
“A majority of the NWC members had taken a decision with their votes. What the chairman did was to overrule the majority and force his opinion on the majority,” one of the NWC members, who pleaded not be named, said.
The appeal panel, which examined the petitions against the governorship primary, recommended its cancellation.
Panel Chairman and Secretary signed the recommendations while the third member did not authenticate it.
The Appeal panel made its recommendation based on the corruption of the delegates list. It also observed that there was evidence that non-party members were recruited to vote.
National Organising Secretary Osita Izunaso, was accused of “colluding to manipulate the delegates’ list. He was also alleged to have provided extra tags to non-delegates to vote.”