The two major political parties in the South West geo-political zone, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have conducted their primaries for various elective positions ahead of the 2023 general elections.
However, the exercise is one that has been deeply enmeshed with controversies.
The South West zone is made up of six States in the present federal system of government.
The six states predominantly dominated by Yoruba speakers are Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Ondo and Ekiti.
It was reported that candidates that will fly the gubernatorial flags of the two major political parties in three of the States where gubernatorial election would be held next year have emerged, though with some internal crisis.
The three States where gubernatorial election would be held in 2023 are Oyo, Ogun and Lagos. Other States such Osun and Ekiti will have their elections in the next few weeks, while the Ondo election will be held in 2024.
Similarly, candidates for the various Houses of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senate have emerged, with some constituencies characterized by internal wranglings.
Our correspondent gathered that while some candidates emerged through consensual arrangement, others emerged through indirect primaries, although most of the primaries were heavily monetized.
There were also alleged cases of imposition and intimidation of aspirants in some of the constituencies.
In Oyo State where the PDP is the ruling party, Governor Seyi Makinde was re-elected as the PDP candidate ahead of 2023. Makinde scored a total of 1,040 votes out of 1,048 accredited votes to defeat his only challenger, a former Deputy Governor, Alhaji Azeem Gbolarumi.
It was gathered that all the candidates that emerged for other positions are people loyal to the governor.
The three PDP senatorial candidates emerged at the poll through a consensual arrangement. They are Engineer Joseph Tegbe (Oyo South) Bisi Ilaka (Oyo Central) and Akinwale Akinwole (Oyo North).
It was gathered that the House of Representatives candidates of PDP emerged through consensual arrangement except in some constituencies where indirect primaries were held.
Though the party claimed that the primaries were free and fair, some of the aspirants, among whom is Dr. Kazeem Adesina Olasupo, an aspirant for Ibadan North East/ Ibadan South East federal constituency has, however, threatened to sue the party over alleged imposition of candidates.
The 14 candidates who emerged either through consensus or direct primaries are Lanre Sarumi (Ibadan North), Majeed Mogbojunbola (Oluyole), Abideen Adeaga (Akinyele/Lagelu), Hussaini Yusuf Ijabah (Irepo/Oorelope/Olorunsogo), Lukman Adisa Salami (Saki East/ Saki West/ ATISBO), Abass Adigun (Ibadan North East/ Ibadan North West), Oyejide Oyesina (Iseyin/ Itesiwaju/ Kajola/ Iwajowa), Stanley Olajide Adedeji (Ibadan North West/ Ibadan South West), Olufemi Onireti (Ogbomoso North/ Ogbomoso South/ Oriire), Yemi Taiwo (Ido/ Ibarapa East), Busari Olayemi (Egbada/ Ona Ara), Adepoju Anthony (Ibarapa North/ Ibarapa Central), Ojo Sunday Makanjuola (Ogo Oluwa/ Surulere) and Mudashiru Kamil Akinlabi (AFIJIO/ Atiba/ Oyo East/ Oyo West).
The 32 PDP candidates in the State House of Assembly constituencies have also emerged. Those who are in the camp of the governor had their way.
The APC, which is the major opposition political party in the State, has also held its gubernatorial, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries, though it was not as smooth as the ones held by the ruling party, PDP.
The dust raised as a result of what played out during the primaries has not yet settled.
The gubernatorial primary of APC in Oyo State produced Senator Teslim Folarin, who is currently representing Oyo Central district.
Folarin defeated five other aspirants to emerge as the winner during the primary election held on Friday, 27 May 2022 at Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Oke Ado, Ibadan.
Folarin defeated other aspirants among whom are Adebayo Adelabu Akeem Agbaje, Hakeem Alao, Azeez Adeduntan and Adeniyi Akintola.
The Senatorial primary elections of APC, held in the three senatorial districts: Oyo North, Oyo South and Oyo Central are still subjects of controversies.
The Oyo Central senatorial district primary election held on Saturday 28 May 2022 is still a contentious issue as two aspirants are currently laying claim to have won the election.
The two aspirants who claimed to have won the election conducted the same day and same venue are Engineer Faozey Oladotun Nurudeen and Dr. Yunus Akintunde. It was gathered that Nurudeen was declared in the afternoon, while Akintunde was declared winner in the evening.
Akintunde has since been declared the winner, but Nurudeen is insisting that he was the one who scored the highest votes.
What played out in Oyo Central district is similar to what happened in Oyo South where Kolapo Kola-Daisi and Barrister Sharafadeen Alli are laying claim to have won the ticket.
Kola-Daisi scored the highest number of votes at the primary election held on Sunday 29 May, but was not announced as winner due to over voting. Alli on the other hand scored the highest number of votes during the re-run primary election held on 31 May, 2022.
The two aspirants are currently laying claim to one APC ticket in Oyo South.
The case of Oyo North where the current occupant of the seat, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari has been declared as winner, is not quite different from what happened in the other two senatorial districts.
Winners of the House of Representatives seats have also emerged, though many of the aspirants have vowed to challenge the outcome.
Those who have been declared as winners are: Musliudeen Olaide Akinremi (Ibadan North), Tolulope Akande-Sadipe (Oluyole), Olafisoye Akinmoyede (Akinyele/Lagelu), Lateef Olaide Muhammedah (Irepo/Oorelope/Olorunsogo), Tajudeen Kareem Were (Saki East/ Saki West/ ATISBO), Dapo Adesina (Ibadan North East/ Ibadan South East), Soliu Adebare Abu-Gbadamosi (Iseyin/ Itesiwaju/ Kajola/ Iwajowa), Saheed Fijabi (Ibadan North West/ Ibadan South West), Olamiju Alao-Akala (Ogbomoso North/ Ogbomoso South/ Oriire), Remi Oseni (Ido/ Ibarapa East), Akin Alabi (Egbada/ Ona Ara), Ajibola Muraina (Ibarapa North/ Ibarapa Central), Segun Dokun Odebunmi (Ogo Oluwa/ Surulere) and Akeem Adeyemi (AFIJIO/ Atiba/ Oyo East/ Oyo West).
The governorship election in Osun State is to be held in July this year.
What happened in the two major political parties in Oyo is not different from what is happening in the neighbouring Osun.
The primary elections of PDP in Osun was a little bit rancour-free compared to that of the APC.
While the list of the PDP House of Representatives candidates in the 9 federal constituencies has emerged, that of the APC has not been released due to the crisis between the Governor Gboyega Oyetola faction and that of his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola who is the Minister of Interior.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that the fierce battle between the two political figures was responsible for the factionalization of APC into two groups, the Ileri Oluwa and The Osun Progressives (TOP). The Ileri Oluwa is loyal to Oyetola, while TOP is loyal to Aregbesola.
The primary elections of APC in the three senatorial districts and some federal constituencies have since produced winners, though there are still accusations and counter accusations in some constituencies.
In Osun central, Dr. Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru has emerged as the winner, while Israel Ajibola Famurewa has emerged in Osun East, but no winner has been announced in Osun West due to the controversies within the two major camps in the State.
The list of the 9 House of Representatives candidates for PDP in Osun obtained by newsmen shows that Sola Arabambi has secured PDP ticket to represent Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency, Lukman Kayode Mudasiru secured PDP ticket to represent Ayedire/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa Federal Constituency, Akanni Clement Olohunwa, Boluwaduro/Ifedayo/Illa Federal Constituency, Bamidele Salam, Ede North/Ede South/Egbedero/Ejigbo Federal Constituency, Taofeek Ajilesoro, Ife Central/Ife East/Ife North/Ife South Federal Constituency, Sanya Omirin, Atakunmosa East/Atakunmosa West/Ilesa East/Ilesa West Federal Constituency, Adewale Maruf Adebayo Gangaria, Irepodun/Olurunda/Osogbo/Orolu Federal Constituency, Oluwole Oke, Obokon/Oriade Federal Constituency and Soji Adetunji, Odo-Otin/Boripe/Ifelodun Federal Constituency.
Findings by our correspondence in Lagos State showed a big difference from what happened during the primaries of the two dominant political parties in Oyo and Osun States.
While consensus arrangement and indirect primaries were used to pick candidates of both PDP and APC in Oyo and Osun, Lagos State was different because all the candidates that emerged in PDP and APC in Lagos State emerged through primaries.
The incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu emerged as APC candidate during the recertify held primary, although, the other two who would have contested with him – Wale Oluwo and Olorunfemi Mustapha, were not cleared, so Sanwo-Olu won unopposed at the poll.
Other candidates of APC who emerged at the Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries were people who are loyal to the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The PDP gubernatorial primary produced Mr. Jide Adediran, a former student leader who is championing Lagos for Lagos campaign.
It was gathered that the Senatorial primaries of APC has produced Tokunbo Abiru, the current occupant of the seat (Lagos East) Dr. Idiat Adebule, a former deputy governor (Lagos West) and Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, incumbent deputy speaker, Lagos Assembly for (Lagos Central).
The PDP senatorial primaries had also produced Segun Adewale (Lagos West), Nicholas Akobada (Lagos East) and Adewale Gomez (Lagos Central).
However, the names of House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates in the two dominant political parties have not been announced as of now.
The ruling APC has conducted its gubernatorial primary where the incumbent governor, Dapo Abiodun won the ticket.
The PDP on the other hand held parallel primaries in Ogun State where Ladi Adebutu and Segun Showumi emerged. The two politicians who emerged at separate primaries are claiming the ticket.
The APC senatorial district primaries in Ogun State produced Gbenga Daniel – Ogun East, Shuaib Salisu – Ogun Central and Olanilekan Adeola – Ogun West
For other posts, there are issues. They are waiting for a decision by the National Working Committee of the party, sources told newsmen.
Similarly, the PDP senatorial district primaries produced Olumide Aderinokun for Ogun central, Professor David Bamgbose for Ogun West but the winner of Ogun East primary has not been announced.
The APC senatorial primaries in Ekiti State produced the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele for Ekiti Ekiti Central. Bamidele was unopposed.
Cyril Fasuyi defeated the incumbent Senator, Olubunmi Adetumbi to emerge as the APC Senatorial candidate in Ekiti North, while Yemi Adaramodu emerged in Ekiti South.
The senatorial primaries in the three districts in Ondo State produced Adegbonmire Adeniyi, who emerged as the APC senatorial candidate in Ondo Central. Adeniyi, a lawyer, defeated the immediate past Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Tayo Alasoadura.
Alasoadura polled 88 votes at the APC primary held at International Event and Cultural Centre, Akure, while Adeniyi scored 144 votes. Alasoadura walked out of the primary venue immediately sorting of votes began.
Also, Jimoh Ibrahim, secured the APC ticket in Ondo South Senatorial District.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders among whom are labour activists and party spokesmen have expressed divergent views on the recently held primaries in the South West.
PDP, APC primaries heavily monitised, characterised by controversies – Union leader
A labour leader, Comrade Andrew Emelieze while speaking with newsmen, explained that the majority of the primaries were not credible.
He alleged that the primaries were heavily monetised and characterized by controversies.
Emelieze, who is the Convener, Congress of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (CSCSN), said that there had been controversies over authentic delegates’ list, impositions of candidates, massive vote buying and harassment of delegates in most of the primaries held in the region.
“In all these, the question on the lips of our people now is that: can we really have credible general elections in the face of the visible anomalies observed at the primary elections? We have observed so much desperation to grab party’s ticket.
“More worrisome is the challenge of general insecurity nationwide and the agitations for restructuring of Nigeria. For sure, the election in 2023 is really threatened and we are actually not too sure elections will take place in Nigeria.
“It has been the view of some people that even if elections take place, it will not be credible based on what has been observed, especially in the face of the ruling elites doing the same thing over and over again”.
Our primaries are free, fair – Oyo PDP
Publicity Secretary of PDP in Oyo State, Engineer Akeem Olatunji while speaking, said that the PDP primaries in the State were free and fair, even though some aspirants had called for cancellation of the primaries in some constituencies.
“It was free and fair and they were conducted according to the party’s guidelines. We followed due process in arriving at the candidates because it was the delegates that decided. Even when we have a sole candidate, we still go to the primaries.
“There is no controversy in Ibadan North East/ South East. I am not aware of people going to court. The only thing I know is that some people complained that some delegates were not allowed to vote, but the delegates are a product of a process. Those who are complaining are very few. Just about 2 percent. We have 98 percent success and that is an excellent pass mark,” he said.
We have forwarded names of our candidates to INEC – Ogun APC
Spokesman of APC in Ogun State, Tunde Oladunjoye in a telephone conversation with newsmen, insisted that the names of APC candidates in the recently conducted primaries have been forwarded to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that appeal committees have been set up to hear the views of any aggrieved contestant.
“All candidates have emerged, our candidates have emerged, and their names have been forwarded to INEC.
“There is a process in our party now and all other parties, there is an appeal committee. The appeal committee will take care of the aggrieved contestants,” he said.
Our candidates emerged through direct primaries – Osun APC
Spokesman of APC in Osun State, Kunle Oyatomi noted that all the candidates of the party for various elective positions have emerged.
He said that the candidates emerged through direct primaries.
“APC did its primaries in Osun State for the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senate, we did that successfully.
“We adopted direct primaries. We have been using it in Osun for quite a while. It is to show that the governor is not interested in imposing any candidate. The people that voted knew the persons they voted for.
“APC is one in Osun State. There is no division in Osun APC. The party has set up appeal committees to hear the views of the aggrieved contestants. The party will take care of that,” he declared.