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24 Oct 2018

'DIRTY PRIMARIES': How APC Candidates 'Paid Up To N50m' For Last-Minute Tickets

More facts have emerged on how the names of governorship and National Assembly candidates seeking to contest on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were substituted with others on the list submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole.

Investigations revealed that aspirants paid between N15 million and N50 million to secure the tickets for the various elective positions during or at the end of primaries that a party member has described as "dirty".

SaharaReporters gathered that Oshiomole, his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Abbas and National Treasurer, Adamu Panda were behind the last-minute substitution of the candidates' names, hours before the submission.
In Zamfara State, for instance, the favoured candidate paid the sum of N10milion to secure the ticket and also recommend members of the electoral committee who conducted the primaries in the state. The move has pitched Abdulaziz Yari, Governor of the state, against the Chairman, which may eventually deny the party from fielding candidates in the state for all elective positions in the  2019 general election.

In the heat of the crisis during the primaries, Yari accused Oshiomhole of acting like a mini-god, adding that he had told the President that he and some of his colleagues hd lost confidence in Oshiomhole.

In Jigawa State, it was gathered that the former Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, was disqualified to favour a serving senator, Sabo Nakudu. Findings revealed that the senator is a friend of popular business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who allegedly prevailed on Oshiomole to make way for his candidate.

In Adamawa, the story is not different, as the Governor was alleged to have financially compromised members of the electoral committee.

In Kaduna State, Governor Nasir el-Rufai was said to have threatened that he would align himself with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, if the party gave the ticket to Senator Shehu Sani.  Reports have it that the Governor and the Managing Director of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Bala Hadiza Usman, through a third party, bankrolled the payment of the ticket for Uba Sani, an aide to the Governor.

A source close to the party revealed that a night before the primary election, Uba Sani went to Oshiomhole under the cover of darkness but was denied access. Members of the Kaduna State  electoral committee were lodged in Emerald Hotel by Uba Sani in order to curry favour.

"If the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) can go and check the bank account of the APC Electoral Committee Member, they are more likely to see a huge lodgement of cash within the last three weeks," the source said.

Candidates who emerged from Imo, Bauchi, Ogun, Adamawa, Niger, Delta, Taraba, Imo and Rivers states were also said to have paid through their noses to make it to the final list.

Ibikunle Amosun, Governor of Ogun State, had accused Bola Tinubu, APC National Leader and Segun Osoba, former Governor of Ogun State, of involvement in the discrepancies noticed in the final list for the state.

A committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, which includes Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Federation, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and Farouk Adamu, was given the mandate to ensure that those loyal to the President are given the party's tickets. It was gathered that the Chairman ignored all the entreaties and submission of the committee.

One of the candidates, who preferred to remain anonymous, described the APC primaries as the "dirtiest and flawed political party primaries ever conducted in the country".

Findings revealed that all members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were sidelined and kept in the dark from the whole exercise, which was shrouded in secrecy. Oshiomole's Personal Chief of Staff was alleged to have collected a huge amount of money from many aspirants in exchange for including their names on the list submitted to INEC.

Some aggrieved governors are said to be activating plans to force a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that would unseat Oshiomhole. As part of efforts in this regard, some of the governors allegedly approached a court through an anti-corruption crusader, Bishop Osadolor Ochei, who asked a Federal High Court in Abuja for an order of mandamus compelling the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence criminal proceedings against the former Edo State Governor on allegations on corruption.

Oshiomole, who is at the centre of the storm, has refused to change position, as he was quoted as saying that he has the backing of 90 per cent of party members.

The President has also directed the National Chairman to address the issues surrounding the governorship and state assembly primary elections, and they “must be resolved this week".

A source privy to recent happenings said that the President is "embarrassed and concerned by the continued controversy, which keeps mounting by the day".

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