Despite its primary election marred by violence, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa state chapter has said it will stand by the victory of former governor Chief Timipre Sylva.
Sylva polled a total of 726 votes in a landslide victory to ease past Warman Ogoriba who came in distant second with 10 votes and an arch-rival Timi Alaibe, the former Niger delta Development Commission (NDDC) managing director, who polled four votes.
But following controversies that erupted in the build-up to the election, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the national chairman of the APC had noted that the party will conduct a fresh governorship primary election in the state, explaining that the exercise held on Tuesday, September 22, was marred by security flaws.
However, reacting to Oyegun’s statement, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe, the chairman of the APC, has insisted that the primary has been won and lost.
He added that the rumour of cancellation of the election was baseless and unfounded, The Punch reports.
Orunimighe said: “As a chairman of Bayelsa APC, I am not aware of any cancellation of the primary. With all due respect to the National Chairman of our party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, he said nobody should make an announcement except they cleared with him.
“I want to believe that people who made statements from the national secretariat did not have clearance with him. As a state chairman, I am aware that the rumour of cancellation came even when we were on the election ground. It was all over the social media. I think it was made by one of their publicists. After that Odigie-Oyegun directed that nobody should make any statement without obtaining clearance from him.
“The national chairman is a man who knows his onions. Having set up an election panel, he knows the next thing is to wait for the outcome or report of the committee set up to administer the primary. Maybe they will set up an appeal committee. We are expecting that by Monday or Tuesday (today). So, I believe the cancellation rumour does not stand.
“For now, election has been held and I think that is how it stands. Chief Timipre Sylva won the primary conducted last Tuesday.”
Orunimighe was also quick to exonerate himself of being biased during the primary.
He said: “I do not know who accused us. We are not biased. As a chairman, I believe that I have managed the party to the best of my ability. When it came to the period of voting, I was also a delegate.”
The APC primary election was said to be marred by violence as members of the election committee headed by the Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state were held hostage in the arena.
Soon after, Oshiomhole and Sylva traded harsh words as the Edo state governor alleged that Sylva’s thugs held him hostage in an attempt to force him to conduct the primary in the midst of violence.
Oshiomhole was said to be rescued by the combined forces of the military and operatives of the Department of State Security on the orders of the Chief of Defence Staff.