Nigeria: Confusion mars Lagos APC primaries, state chair declares Sanwo-Olu winner, NWC says its invalid
London, October 3, 2018 (AltAfrica)-There appears to be tension between the Lagos state secretariat of All Progressive Congress APC and the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja after the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter Mr. Tunde Balogun, on Tuesday night declared Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the party’s governorship primary in defiance of the position of the National Working Committee which earlier cancelled the exercise
In his declaration, Balogun announced that Sanwo-Olu polled 970,851 votes to defeat incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode with 72,901 votes.
Balogun declared the election free and fair, thanking members of the party for coming out to vote. He said, ”We were preparing for the election on the 1st of October before the cancellation was announced. The same thing was done again today but we were in the queue for most part of the day and I have observed that the elections have been free fair and transparent.
“It was direct primary, truly direct. Human beings were counted, not phones, not ballot papers. It would have been very painful to disenfranchise 1.5 million Lagosians who are members of APC who took part in today’s primary.
“I commend and salute them for their doggedness and forthrightness. The results have started come in and we waited till we got the last result.
“It is my pleasure and delight to announce the result of the election conducted in all the wards of Lagos state. The results are as follows Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, 72,901 votes. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, 970,851 votes.”
Earlier in the day, the National Working Committee panel sent from Abuja to oversee the election had declared the primary invalid.
The panel, led by Mr. Clement Ebri, said the primary could not have held because the modality for its conduct was still being ironed out. But Balogun insisted that the poll held and it was valid.
“The preparatory process had just been concluded for the primaries. The primary is to begin anytime soon.
“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.
“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.