The Oyo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says its primary elections as free, fair, and credible despite the accusations of candidates’ imposition and violence leveled against some of the party leaders.
Some aggrieved PDP aspirants had claimed that they were chased away from the venues of the primary election by armed thugs in the presence of the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, and others.
Three aspirants contesting the party’s ticket to represent Ibadan North-East/Ibadan South-East; Deji Aboderin, Niyi Aborisade, and Dr. Kazeem Olasupo, had earlier accused Arapaja and Governor Seyi Makinde of imposition and using hoodlums to drive them away from the venue of their primary venue.
Also, a group within the PDP, Concerned People Frontiers, also claimed on Monday that the primary elections were fraught with fraud and the use of force.
The group said in the statement,
“The Deputy National Chairman of our party, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja invaded the venue of the primaries with armed thugs, police, and soldiers harassing, intimidating, and threatening us with guns, and ordering us to leave the venue of the primary or we should be shot.
“We are going to challenge what happened legally because there was no primary, some delegates and aspirants were prevented from exercising their electoral franchise. What transpired at the venue of the primary showed that the PDP government in Oyo state is not about people but about a cabal, who can do anything to achieve their clandestine motive.
“Imagine someone of Arapaja’s caliber, a National officer for that matter, threatening his members with a gun, this was a show of charade, and against the tenet of the democratic process.
“We want to bring this to the notice of party National headquarters what happened in Oyo state, and if this show of shame is not corrected, we have no option but to seek redress legally.
“We want to use this opportunity to also advise the party leadership at national, that in case there will be another primary, apart from INEC officials, aspirants, and delegates, no other party leaders in the state should be allowed into the venue to guide against the further occurrence of oppression for people like Arapaja, a national officer for that matter.
“There was no primary in Ibadan for South-East State Assembly and Ibadan North East/South East Federal Constituency. Although they might come up with a winner it was glaring that there was no primary as confirmed by INEC officials in an interview at the venue. The atmosphere was not conducive and it was really discouraging and sad. This is not democracy.’
However, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Oyo State, Akeem Olatunji, when contacted debunked the claims, describing the party’s primary elections as the best.
“Allegations like these ones are not strange and such is expected from those who lost. But our primary elections were free and fair.
“We will bring everybody on board. Those who are angry will be pacified. We are members of the same family and we will discuss with the those who are trying to discredit the exercise.”