By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Fresh revelations have emerged on how President Muhammadu Buhari stamped his feet to avoid a hung election at last weekend’s national convention of ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The impasse, which arose mainly over the position of National Organising Secretary, dragged the convention into almost 48 hours with the threat of a cancellation of the results before President Buhari, who on the second day left and returned, ordered that the results be released.
The newly elected national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who had also been solicited to take the responsibility of conducting the election into the disputed office of National Organising Secretary was also said to have firmly rebuffed the offer.
At the centre of the controversy was the decision of the convention committee to cancel the results of the four A states, including Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom and Anambra.
The then incumbent, Senator Osita Izunaso, was in strong contention for the office with Barrister Emma Ibediro, a former secretary of Imo State branch of the party who was the candidate of the governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Vanguard gathered yesterday that a powerful clique within the former executive of the party had masterminded the distribution of multiple ballot papers to some Southeast states where Okorocha was very unpopular.
So on Saturday as the voting commenced with three of the four A states voting heavily against Okorocha’s candidate, Ibediro, the agents were said to have protested against what they alleged as the multiplicity of the ballots, causing mayhem that led to the cancellation of the ballots of all four states who had voted alphabetically, that is Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom and Anambra.
Izunaso was expected to have won handsomely in Abia, Akwa Ibom, and Anambra largely on account of the perceived misgivings of the region to alleged indecorous swags of Okorocha.
The multiplicity of the ballots in the Southeast, Vanguard gathered, led to the situation that Jigawa State did not have ballots to cast for the office of National Organising Secretary.
Jigawa like many other APC controlled states sided with Ibidero on the plea of Okorocha who whipped up emotion among his fellow governors of how after taking the party structure in his native Imo State, that the same Izunaso also wanted to disgrace him by defeating his candidate. It was based on that that the majority of the APC governors instructed their delegates to vote for Ibidero.
Meanwhile, Izunaso and the anti-Okorocha elements in the party were, however, unhappy with the cancellations and their initial refusal not to yield ground dragged the convention towards the evening of the second day. President Buhari left the convention floor at about 1.00 p.m. Appeals were made to Oshiomhole to accept to conduct a fresh election for the National Organising Secretary, but he firmly refused, saying it was not his duty.
President Buhari on returning in the evening and getting information of the continued delay then instructed that the results be announced as collated and Ibidero was returned with 1,749 votes compared to the 1,459 votes garnered by Izunaso. That is with the exclusion of votes from Imo delegates, Jigawa, Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom and Anambra states.