The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-west says it will cooperate with the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and work as observers during the governorship primary election in Ekiti State.
The leaders made the resolve on Friday when they met with about 28 aspirants in the Ekiti governorship poll at the old State House in Marina area of Lagos State.
Those present are APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu; former interim APC National Chairman, Bisi Akande; and the APC National Vice-Chairman, South-West, Pius Akinyelure.
The party leadership in the zone assured the aspirants of their commitment and readiness to collaborate with the party’s NWC to ensure a free, fair and transparent governorship primary election in the state.
They also urged the NWC to send credible people from the national secretariat to conduct the primaries already fixed for May 5.
The meeting followed the concern raised by some of the aspirants about the need to have an equally non-partisan team from Abuja to conduct the primary election.
The candidates had cited the case of the last governorship primaries of the party in Anambra State which was trailed by allegations of fraud and corruption.
Members of the electoral panel were alleged to have engaged in sharp practices because they were not financially empowered for the exercise.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Tinubu explained that the meeting was to assure the aspirants that the APC leadership in the zone would be non-partisan and non-aligned with any of them in the forthcoming primary election.
”What I admire about them is that we called them and they answered our call. They all asked for a free, fair and transparent process and that is what we are committed to doing. The leadership is determined to respect that wish.
“There would be no interference, no collusion with any of them. But we told them they must all maintain the peace and once we all recognise our roles and play the roles, we will all move forward,” he said.
On his part, Akande said the leaders are non-partisan, determined to create a level playing field for the contenders and support the winner of the primaries.
Speaking on behalf of the governorship aspirants, Mr Dele Okeya described the meeting as fruitful and thanked the leaders for their intervention.
Other APC leaders at the meeting include a former Ogun State governor, Segun Osoba; former Ekiti State governor, Niyi Adebayo; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, and Ekiti State APC Chairman, Jide Awe.
The governorship aspirants also present are Senator Babafemi Ojodu, Kayode Fayemi, Bimbo Daramola, Opeyemi Bamidele, Femi Bamisile, Bamidele Faparusi, and Bayo Idowu, among others.