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Sylva hijacked Bayelsa gov primary with thugs – Oshiomhole

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday, explained how he escaped from the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, venue of the 2015 governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress.
The governor was reportedly held hostage for several hours during the exercise, which was marred by violence.
Oshiomhole, who made the allegation during a press briefing on Wednesday in Benin however, accused a former governor of Bayelsa State and chieftain of the APC, Mr. Timipriye Sylva, of hijacking the primary.

He also dismissed media reports that the party’s primary was held, wherein Sylva, who is also an aspirant, emerged as the party’s candidate.

Oshiomhole, who said Sylva threatened his life and that of other members of the committee, challenged the Bayelsa ex-governor to produce his Certificate of Return presented to him by the party if he truly won in a free and fair primary.

The governor alleged that the electoral process was hijacked by thugs, acting on the instruction of the former governor, who he said had insisted that the exercise be conducted without accreditation.

He added that he had to call for help from Abuja, leading to the intervention of the Joint Task Force, who rescued him out of the venue, after several hours of being at the mercy of the hoodlums.

Oshiomhole stated, “I was appointed with six other members from the APC to conduct the primary election of the governorship election in Bayelsa State. The exercise took place yesterday (Tuesday) and somehow, thugs took over the sports complex, where the exercise was to take place.

“They practically prevented the actual delegates from participating and as a result, we could not proceed with the exercise. The committee was virtually held hostage, including my humble self. This time, they were supervised unfortunately by one of the aspirants, the former governor of the state, Timipriye Sylva, who said to my face and to the committee that we could not leave the venue of the conference unless we conduct the exercise without accreditation, as prescribed by the national secretariat.

“It is important that we state clearly that the national secretariat has adopted a standard guideline for the conduct of governorship primary and this guideline were used effectively in Kogi State and it produced a candidate in which all the aspirants were quite happy with.

“The key issues in this guideline, as handed down by the party, is that delegates, as contained in the list, have to be identified either though the Permanent Voter Card or the National Identity Card or international passport.

“This was to ensure that proper accreditation was done because the integrity of an election rests primarily on the integrity of the accreditation process; once the accreditation suffers any defect, it affects the entire exercise. As they say, you cannot build something on nothing.”

Oshiomhole, who wondered why the former governor insisted on having his way other than that prescribed by the national leadership of the APC, said, “Whereas all the aspirants agreed with this guideline, it is only Sylva that did not agree with it. He rejected this mode of accreditation and chose to accuse the national secretariat of formulating the guideline to frustrate his ambition.

“Every effort made to reassure him and direct his attention to the fact that same guidelines have been used and that they are standard guidelines that will be used in future elections fell on deaf ears.

The Edo State Governor added, “He insisted that we cannot leave the place unless we are ready to conduct the election without recourse to accreditation, as stipulated by the party and, of course, I was not in a position to amend the guideline, nor was I ready to submit to his intimidation.”

He said that when it became clear that he (Sylva) had mobilised thugs in connivance with the police, the thugs found their way into the stadium, without accreditation, “and insisted that we must conduct the election based on their own rules‎.”

Oshiomhole said, “Sylva insisted that it is the State Secretariat and not the national body that should conduct the primary and that it was wrong for the national body to conduct primaries without involving the state leadership of the party and therefore, as far as he was concerned, we must proceed with the election without complying with the guidelines of the national secretariat.

“When it became clear that our lives were under threat, I had to call Abuja to prevail on the Joint Task Force to provide me with security to enable me to leave the venue of the primary because thugs had effectively blocked the gates under the instructions of Sylva.

“I have since forwarded our report to the National Secretariat namely that the primary could not be conducted because of these and several other malpractices.”

Oshiomhole said many people were apprehended with fake or cloned Permanent Voter Card, which they wanted to use to replace the actual delegates and they were handed over to the Police.

He said curiously, the Police released those who were so arrested and allowed them to continue to harass and intimidate, not only the committee members but other aspirants.

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Posted By Bobricky On 09:09 Wed, 23 Sep 2015

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