The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, may affect the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and other party governorship aspirants over the conduct of the party primary election in Ondo State.
A source at the APC headquarters disclosed that the party may not have a candidate for the Ondo governorship election scheduled for October 10, 2020.
According the letter sent by APC that notified the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that the party had fixed July 20, 2020 for its primary election in the state and invited the commission to monitor the exercise.
However, the letter with Ref. No. APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/020/013 dated June 17, 2020 was only signed by the Acting National Secretary of the party, Waziri Bulama.
INEC replied the party that the letter violates the provision of Article 4.4 of the commission’s regulations and guidelines for the conduct of party primaries, which requires that such notices must be jointly signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of a political party.
Consequently, INEC rejected the letter and advised the party to do the needful. The letter is signed by the Secretary to the commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
The letter marked INEC/DEPIM/APC/522/T.3 with the title “Re: Notice of conduct of primaries” was addressed to the party’s national chairman.
In rejecting the notice, INEC asked the APC to issue a fresh notice that will comply with its guidelines.
The letter read, “Please refer to your letter with reference APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/020/013 which was received by the Commission on June 18, 2020.
“The commission notes that your notice scheduling the conduct of APC Ondo State governorship primary on July 20, 2020, was signed by only the acting national secretary.
“This is contrary to the provision of Article 4.4 of the commission’s regulations and guidelines for the conduct of party primaries which requires that such notices shall be jointly signed by the national chairman and national secretary of the political party.
“Accordingly, your party is advised to issue an appropriate notice for the conduct of its Ondo State governorship primary in line with relevant provisions of the regulations and guidelines for the conduct of party primaries.”
As a result of the development, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu faces disqualification from the Ondo governorship election as the APC crisis may prevent the submission of names of contestants for the party’s primary.
By provision of Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act, political parties are required to give INEC 21 days notice for the conduct of their primaries for governorship elections.
According to the timetable released by INEC on February 6, 2020, party primaries for the Ondo governorship election begins on July 2 and end on July 25 while the last day for submission of names of candidates is July 28.