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Monday, July 15, 2024

Council Elections: War of Words Erupts Between Kwara APC Leader and Electoral Committee Over Primaries

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A big man in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Barrister Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, had a disagreement with the party’s election bosses about the recent local council primary elections.

Akogun said, “There is nothing good about how local governments and their elections are managed in Kwara State. Everything is full of cheating and unfair practices that destroy our values.

“When you think people in political office have used all their tricks, they find new ones. Maybe they don’t know what democracy means; they never learned it. They always break the rules of democracy.

“For six years, the state runs the local governments. If civil servants don’t run them, the governor’s appointees do. Since 2019, whoever is in charge of Kwara Councils is just doing what the governor wants.

“When this government first came in, they illegally removed the elected council. They also got rid of the old KWASIEC and prepared to misuse funds from the sixteen local government areas.”

Akogun remembered, “After a lot of pressure, our party, the APC, agreed to hold council elections in September 2024. I never thought it could be free, fair, and transparent under our leader. And I told people, if it was credible, I would be surprised. This is based on past experiences.

“When we were told to have direct primaries, I thought maybe things had changed. But I was wrong. The primary election happened on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, and the result came out on Monday, July 7, 2024, seven days later! The result didn’t show the figures scored by the contestants.

“This is Kwara’s special kind of democracy. It happened before during the 2018 gubernatorial primary. The winner was announced but no scores for others.”

Akogun asked “for patience as we wait for the end of this era. Governments come and go. This one will pass too.”

On Thursday, the party’s election committee, through Raheem Adedoyin, the Chairman of the Publicity Committee, called Akogun’s comments sad and not based on facts.

“The electoral committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kwara State, is disappointed with Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo’s outbursts on the concluded primaries.

“As a leader, Oyedepo should know that the media isn’t the first place to complain about the party or its leaders. Whatever he is unhappy about, he could have used the established channels, including the appeal committee.

“The primary elections didn’t go Oyedepo’s way in his Isin Local Government, but the results reflect what most APC members wanted.

“Chief Oyedepo’s favored candidate, Mr. Adeboye Adebayo, tried hard but didn’t win. It isn’t the end of the world for the retired banker. Rubbing the whole process just because his candidate didn’t win is not fair. That’s how politics and democracy work.

“While there is always room for improvement, the election showed fairness and reflected the wishes of APC members, even in Oyedepo’s area and beyond.

“In areas like Isin, Irepodun, Oke Ero, Ekiti, Oyun, Ifelodun, and Offa, local government elections took place, and winners were announced. Stakeholders, as experienced as Oyedepo, can confirm the transparency of the process in their regions.”

The committee added, “In Offa Local Government, for example, major stakeholders like Chief GG Jaiyeola, Hajia Fareedah Dankaka, and others can confirm the democratic process of selecting the chairmanship candidate.

“It is not fair for one stakeholder to criticize others in a publication that lacks facts and is full of malice against the leadership. As leaders, we can disagree on political choices but should not discredit others we disagree with.

“The party members made their choices, and the leadership respected those choices. That is democracy in action. Of course, we can still have healthy conversations about how to improve our democratic processes,” the committee noted.

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