Human rights activist, Festus Keyamo, on Wednesday declined participation in a primary to pick a senatorial flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Delta Central bye-election, citing irregularities in the party’s membership register.
In a statement, “Decision not to participate in the APC Delta Central Senatorial Primaries for the 2013 senatorial bye-election,” Keyamo said, “I have taken a painful but necessary decision not to participate in the primaries to be organized later today at Ughelli because the whole exercise is nothing but a sham that is packaged, rigged and concocted to favour my opponent, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor. The following are my reasons:
(1) That the exercise was preceded on the 24th of September, 2013 by registration of limited number of members of APC in Delta State since there were no registered members before now, being a newly registered party.
(2) That in the said exercise, it was agreed with members of your committee that the slots for the registration cards for the new members would be distributed evenly between former members of the merging parties in each local government area. The said defunct parties are ACN, ANPP, CPC and a faction of DPP.
(3) That, however, when the materials arrived the venues, thugs loyal to my opponent, hijacked the materials, beat up the officials and took the materials to unknown places (outside the approved venues) to fill up the registers and cards. The L.G.As where no formal registration took place at all are Sapele, Ethiope West, Ughelli North (which is the local government area of my opponent) and Ughelli South. Partial registration occurred in Ethiope East before the thugs of my opponent disrupted the scene and carted away materials.
(4) That I have met formally with some members of the committee and asked for the outright cancellation of those L.G.As where no registration took place at all and for us to proceed with the primaries with the L.G.As where registration took place.
(5) That I was however just told this morning by the Committee that full registers of registered members have surfaced in L.G.As like Sapele, Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Ethiope East with strange names.
(6) That I and my supporters do not know how and when these registers were filed up and membership cards issued. This is because my supporters stayed at the registration venues in these L.G.As till late in the night before they went home.
(7) That in the circumstance it becomes a worry to me and my supporters to go into a contest where they were not given an equal chance to register to vote for someone of their choice.
(8) That it is disappointing that the Committee members of the APC connived openly with my opponent to allow such a brazen rape of free choice and democracy to take place.
(9) Other open acts of bias on the part of the APC Committee are:
(i) The venues for registration were not known to me and my supporters, despite repeated demands, up till about 11:00am on the day of the registration whereas, my opponents supporters had filled the venues as early as 6:00am.
(ii) The venue for the sham primaries was not made known to me, despite repeated demands until about 12:00noon today, whereas my opponent’s supporters had thronged the venue as early as 6:00am today.
(10) In the circumstances, I boldly say that any result that comes out of today’s exercise will be a colossal fraud and waste of time. Please, count me out.
“This is a notice that no vote should be cast or counted in my favour in the today staged-managed process. A copy of this letter is being sent to the Interim National Committee of the APC.”