Nigeria: Ambode lost to “Option A4” not Sanwo-Olu
London, October 3, 2018 (AltAfrica)-The battle between the incumbent Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and his challenger Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the APC gubernatorial ticket for the 2019 general election in Nigeria would have been a good and close contest except for the adoption of open ballot system dubbed “option A4”
Open ballot system, also known as Option A4, is a voting method in which voters exercise their voting rights openly by queuing or otherwise, indicating the candidate of their choice
Though the system is widely believed to minimise incidences of election rigging that comes with the secret ballot system as well as other electoral fraudulent-related practices, but in Nigeria the system encourages vote buying, coercion and discourages independence and secrecy of choice, a fundamental principle of sound democracy
Alternativeafrica.com has been told that the insistence of Lagos APC secretariat on the choice of Option A4 system for the controversial primaries was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise and and intimidate Ambode’s secret admirers from voting for him.
While the national secretariat of APC favoured use ballot papers and communicated such to members of the National Working Commitee NWC, sent to conduct the primaries and we came into Lagos with thousands of them, but during the stakeholders meeting, it became obvious that the state chapter of the party was not ready for such primary and vehement on option A4
“They claimed that there was no time to educate the members and others on how to use ballot papers and based on the submission made at the stakeholders meeting on Monday Ebri said the panel was advised to conduct the open ballot in a manner that would be objective to all parties.
Our source said, “the Lagos APC hierarchy were aware quite well that secret ballot system could produce a different result to what they hoped for. They were not prepared to take risks because of growing sympathy for Ambode even among party loyalists who felt he deserved a second term based on his performance in office.
“So among themselves they had agreed that secret ballot was not a choice and that those loyalists who have been paid must deliver and the only way to ensure that was through option A4 where everyone had nothing to hide. So they vehemently opposed any idea of secret ballot from the national secretariat and went ahead to conduct the primaries without any input from members of the NWC sent from Abuja”
“There was no election. Election materials are being sorted. “The stage is set and election begins anytime from now. We have guidelines and we will stick to the guidelines.
Corroborating our source, Clement Ebiri said on Tuesday in Lagos, “Because of the political tension in the state, we decided to be very careful, very methodical. As party men, peace is more important to us than victory.
“We want a kind of victory that will be celebrated by both parties.
“We want an election that will be credible and in line with the guidelines, the extant rules and the laws of the country.
“And that is what we have done. We are ready to go to the field and execute this. So that at the end of the day, we will not be accused of partisanship. Lagos is very important to us and it is a flagship of the APC,” Ebri said.
He said that the panel was ready to give the most credible primary to the state and would contact the national headquarters for information on the preparatory process.
“It takes a lot of work for the main show to take place.
“We are ready to give the state the most credible election.
“We will contact the national headquarters on the timing for the release of materials. It is not our fault that this exercise took this long.
Ebri said the panel was waiting for the party chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, to provide certain information that would enable them post people to the wards.
“We have two aspirants and we need to be fair to both parties. The information we demanded for came in about an hour ago. And we had to struggle this period to balance the equation.
Our source also claimed the dramatic U-turn of the NWC was as a result of pressure mounted by “the big man himself. I don’t need to tell you more about that. That was why they took old man Oyegun off as National Chairman of the Party. I just sympathise with Ambode, he’s a good guy but except for the open ballot, things might have been different”