Sen. Dayo Adeyey, the National Chairman, Southwest Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA), a support group for the 2023 presidential ambition of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has accused the leadership of the party in Ekiti State of plotting to tinker with the party registers.
Adeyeye, a former Minister of Works, said the party leaders, under the leadership of its Chairman, Hon Paul Omotoso, had allegedly evacuated the membership registers across the 177 wards and taken to the government house with the criminal motive to expunge the names of perceived opposition to their preferred aspirant before the January 22, 2022 primary.
In a statement in Ado Ekiti on Saturday and made available to journalists, Adeyeye pointedly accused Governor Kayode Fayemi of being the one coercing the state leadership of the party to perpetrate the electoral heist.
Adeyeye, who is angling for the 2022 governorship election, said the party took the unsavoury action over palpable fever surrounding the possibility of President Muhammadu Buhari signing the direct primary law to mandate application of direct primaries by parties.
The former minister called on the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee and Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee to call the State Working Committee to order, saying allowing them to tamper with the party registers will trigger unnecessary crisis in Ekiti APC.
“This to me was a high point of electoral malfeasance. I got it from grapevine sources that they had evacuated the membership registers by SWC members and taken to the government house to tinker with the register with a view to getting an undue advantage.
“The video of their electoral theft had gone viral and it was done by one of their own, who thought that their invidious action could trigger unwarranted conflagration in APC if perpetrated.
“This action signposts that they are afraid of direct primary.
“Our findings confirmed that what they were planning to do with this criminal act, is to remove members of SWAGA and those loyal to other interested aspirants from our registers to give undeserved victory to their anointed aspirant at the primary.
“We are loyal party members and we want progress for this party. But it would be a great disservice for us to keep quiet in the face of this unsavoury act. This will not help our party and national leadership who are working hard to reposition our party.
“We appeal to our national leaders to take immediate action on this matter. Election rigging within a party is a fertile ground for a crisis of monumental proportion to spring up and escalate into a full-scale division.
“It is sad and devastating that this act came up when the members are yet to recover from the shock that accompanied the shady conduct of the highly vitiated ward, local government and state congresses in Ekiti,” he said.
Responding, the APC State Publicity Secretary, Segun Dipe, described the allegation as comical, unfounded and spurious, saying the membership cards issued to bonafide members were sufficient to authenticate one’s qualification for any primary.
Dipe told Adeyeye that rather than deregistering any SWAGA member and others, the party is ready to accommodate even the worst of enemies to shore up its membership base.
“We are not going to deregister anybody. Senator Adeyeye is a Lawyer and he ought to know that the issue of the direct primary has not been signed into law by the President. It is premature to start raising this baseless allegation now.
“Adeyeye should know that membership of a political party is not based on being registered alone, there are cards issued to all members that can authenticate their eligibility to participate in any election, either or direct or indirect.
“So, Ekiti APC is not planning anything of such and our plan is to register more members and not to reduce the one we have currently. All our documents are intacts and they are in the right places,” he said.
Pro-Tinubu group slams Ekiti APC over alleged plan to alter membership register