•Demand secret ballot for primaries
By Omeiza Ajayi
Ten out of 12 governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress APC in Edo state have alleged intimidation and harassment of party officials by some partisan interests in the state.
The allegation was contained In a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and signed by some aspirants including Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor, Dr. Pius Odubu, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere and Barr. Ken Imasuagbon.
Others are Arc. Austin Emuan, Chief Blessing Agbomhere, Mrs Tina Agbarha, Hon. Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula and Comrade Peter Esele.
Part of the letter reads: “We the undersigned being Governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Edo State Chapter having observed the issues surrounding the forthcoming primaries on June 18th, 2016 have decided to issue the following statement.
“That, there has remained consistent harassment and intimidation of party officials and political appointees on account of their support for aspirants of their choice”
The aggrieved aspirants who said they appreciated the effort and concern of the National Leadership of the party towards resolving the ugly events that have been bedeviling the process leading to the gubernatorial primaries, however stated that the effort has not yielded the desired result.
They said “the latest of these acts of impunity and desperation to win at all costs is the purchase and or collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) by force or inducement by agents of a particular aspirant with a view to undermining a free and fair process of nomination beginning with accreditation of delegates.
“That most of the aspirants have been denied access to delegates during campaigns by a certain notorious thug who has consistently threatened Oredo delegates against meeting with aspirants other than his preferred aspirant”. The aggrieved aspirants however suggested that “in view of the incessant harassment and intimidation of delegates, the party should ensure that the right of the delegates to vote in secrecy is protected an guaranteed.’’