Senate President Bukola Saraki has narrated how the governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was disrupted on Sunday.
TheCable had reported that the PDP cancelled its guber primary following a confrontation between supporters of two leading aspirants.
The exercise had been going on smoothly at Banquet Hall, opposite government house, Ilorin, until some loyalists of Bolaji Abdullahi and Razak Atunwa, two top aspirants, clashed over alleged attempt to manipulate the primary.
Some supporters of Abdulahi alleged that most of the ballot papers had the name of Atunwa written on them.
Atunwa is believed to have the backing of the senate president and Abdulafatai Ahmed, governor of the state.
But reacting in a statement which Yusuph Olaniyonu, his special adviser on media and publicity, issued on his behalf, Saraki said he had no preferred candidate in the contest.
“Dr. Saraki believes that competence, popularity and acceptability, must be the deciding factors in the selection of the party’s gubernatorial candidate, as such, due to the fact that many of the aspirants in question meet all three criteria, Dr. Saraki has stated that a level-playing field must be provided for all the aspirants to vie for the gubernatorial ticket of the PDP in Kwara,” the statement read.
“Going back to today’s incident, accreditation had already taken place, and delegates from two Local Government Areas had already voted. The third Local Government had started to vote, when a few people from that LGA raised certain observations about the process.
“The organisers of the primaries then suggested that the LGA in question should either conclude voting while the observations were addressed, or allow another LGA to vote pending the resolution of the observations that were raised.
“It was at this point that hired thugs then forced their way into the venue of the primaries to disrupt the process.
“It is important to note that despite his influence in the politics of the state, Dr. Saraki has always worked to ensure that the democratic process is followed to the letter.
“Additionally, as many of his political associates are aspiring to become the next Governor of the state, he has maintained that he will allow the people to decide and worked to ensure that the party primaries in the state remain credible.
“That was why he stayed back in Abuja while the primary election in Ilorin was ongoing. He just left Abuja for Ilorin at 9.10pm following the news of the disruption.”