A former Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Lame, on Friday accused officials of his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Bauchi state of electoral malpractice that denied him a chance of emerging the governorship candidate of the party on Thursday.
Mr. Lame alleged that the party’s primary election committee officials deliberately plotted to disenfranchise him to the advantage of his arch-rival, Muhammed Abubakar, who was later declared winner of the governorship primaries. The ex-minister also said the committee
allowed over-voting and denied delegates, believed to be his supporters, a voting chance.
He, therefore, called for a cancellation of the primaries and asked for a rerun, saying he would go to court if his request is not considered.
Mr. Lame, who emerged first runner up in the primaries, was defeated by Mr. Muhammad with a margin of 120 votes.
Speaking at a press conference held in Bauchi at the weekend, Mr. Lame said, “Before we went into the said primaries, all stakeholders sat and agreed on modalities of conducting the primaries.
“But when we came for the primaries, some of the delegates who are our supporters were denied accreditation; these delegates are from kubi East ward of Ganjuwa local government.
“They were denied the chance to vote because a list was brought from Abuja in which names of certain delegates were dropped”, he said.
On the contentious issue of over-voting, Mr. Lame said “the aggregated number of those accredited to vote was 2, 854 but after the votes were counted, the total number of votes cast stood at 2, 864. That clearly confirmed that there was over-voting by 41 votes, and the constitution of our party clearly stipulates that on account of any over voting such election stands nullified”.
He also accused the electoral committee led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Oluwarotimi Akinride of “selective implementation of court ruling by allowing some delegates from Bauchi local government to vote, which he said was against the ruling of a court that barred them from participating”.
Mr. Lame said that massive fraud may have been perpetrated by the committee, who encouraged violence and power failure during the counting of the ballots.
“We therefore call for a rerun of the primaries, or we will go to court to seek proper redress. We believe in the APC especially for its justice and fairness. And if that principles of justice is not adhered in Bauchi, we fear for the future of APC”.
Mr. Lame, however, assured that he will not leave the APC even if the courts fail to help him secure the ticket.
“We will not allow our efforts in building our party to be truncated. I was a secretary of the merger committee of the APC and I will do everything to safe guard the APC principles. We believe in Bauchi and we will remain in the party and ensure the best comes to the people of Bauchi state”.
Mr. Lame, however, said if the court rule in his favour “And should the party refuse to adhere to the instructions of the court, we will look for an option to address our political future”.
The committee chairman, Mr. Akinride (SAN), had on Friday morning declared that Muhammed Abubakar, a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in the state had polled the highest votes of 930; while former Minister of Police Affairs, Dr Ibrahim Yakubu Lame scored 806 votes as the first runner up.
Others are: Yusuf Tuggar, with a total vote of 526; Engr. Sadiq Mahmood with 194 votes; while Ibrahim Zailani came garnered 16 votes to place fifth in the primaries.
At the sixth position was Nuhu Gidado, who polled 86 votes. A candidate called Orlando, scored 92 votes to place 7th, while Engr Gambo Magaji got a paltry 66 votes.
The total number of accredited voters at the APC primary election, according to Akinride (SAN) was 2,901 while total vote cast was 2865 and invalid votes were 30 – these are figures being contested by Yakubu Lame.