It started as a peaceful process. Or so it seems. Delegates had converged at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado-Ekiti, venue of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) governorship primary and all accreditation successfully completed.
Midway into voting, the process suddenly became chaotic as thugs stormed the voting arena, smashing ballot boxes and causing commotion in the process.
Before the incident, aspirants, including the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, former governor, Engr. Segun Oni, Hon. Bimbo Daramola alongside others had approached the voting tent where the chairman of the primary election committee, Governor Tanko Al-Makura was seated to air their grievances on perceived actions they alleged had compromised the process.
One of the allegations was that cards were handed out by the Fayemi camp to delegates to write their ballot number in a plot to make them qualify for balance of earlier paid gratifications after casting their votes.
Reliable sources confirmed the complicity of security forces; including the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigerian Immigration Service, and the Nigerian Customs, whose officials watched the naked impunities without raising a finger.
Sensing he could not make it in a transparent contest, the Minister stormed the venue of the primary with huge sum of money with which he compromised delegates who were paid the balance of N900,000 with the proof of voting him with the slip.
The group had initially settled for vote snapping before the plan was shot down by other aspirants during their meeting with Al-Makura on Friday.
When the NO PHONE policy at the booth was adopted, the Fayemi camp had hurriedly shifted to a ‘Plan B’ thinking it would sail through without notice.
Vigilant agents of other aspirants however spotted delegate after delegate who after voting, pulled out a card from their pockets to write their ballot which culminated in an alarm that attracted other delegates.
In the midst of the confusion, supporters of some aspirants stormed the ballot area, broke three boxes stuffed with votes while one of them grabbed some thumb-printed votes, tore and chewed some others.
Pandemonium later ensued but the security agents were able to retrieve the spilled ballot papers and thereafter built a human barricade around the boxes.
Some delegates who organized themselves in clusters of groups started chanting anti-Fayemi songs; of “Fayemi Ole”, meaning ‘Fayemi thief’.
Police arrested one of the thugs whose name was not disclosed for assaulting a Commissioner of Police. The arrested man who was later led out of the stadium in handcuffs debunked his involvement in the disruption.
As the tension increased and it became obvious that the process could not be continued, aspirants were ushered into a closed-door meeting with the Nasarawa State Governor who was chairman of the primary. Journalists and agents were excused from the meeting.
As the meeting lasted for about ninety minutes, fatigue was already setting in for the delegates and supporters who then started leaving the venue in their numbers.
An Ekiti north senatorial aspirant on the platform of the APC who spoke anonymously with this medium, attributed the stalemated primaries to the ambition of an aspirant who was once a governor of the state.
“You also know the man; haven’t you been hearing peoples’ views about him?” he said. The aspirant said the process was peaceful until agents of the said aspirant threw caution to the winds in their desperation.
Speaking on the way forward, he said it had become necessary that the aspirant is prevented from further taking part in the process.
When the meeting ended around 6:25pm, many of the aspirants stormed out of the venue and refused to speak to pressmen with crowds of their supporters cheering them as they drove off.