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There was palpable tension in Owerri on Saturday afternoon as the first lady of Ondo State and All Progressives Congress senatorial aspirant for Imo East, Betty Akeredolu, accused the governor of the State, Hope Uzodimma, of hijacking the primary.
The Eastern Updates reports that the first lady, who stormed the secretariat with her security aides and supporters, after which she came out to address journalists. She declared that she will resist all attempts by the state governor to announce one of the aspirants winner without any election taking place anywhere.
She alleged that the governor was bent on imposing somebody on other candidates on the pretence of a consensus candidate, which she said she rejected.
Akeredolu submitted that the delegates’ lists which were supposed to be used for the election were hidden from her and the other aspirants.
Her words, ‘This is almost 3pm and the elections have not started. Every attempt by governor Hope Uzodimma to impose a person on us as a consensus candidate must be rejected. The primary election must hold so that if I lose, I will congratulate the winner.
‘They called us and asked us to step down for one unpopular aspirant and I said ‘no’, that the process must go on. That there must be an election. You can’t do that to people like us in the 21st century. I have gone round the nine Local Government Areas in the district. The people are ready to vote for me.’
She went on to add that; ‘You can’t write figures, declare somebody winner when there was no election. I, therefore, call on the national chairman of the APC not to accept any name from Imo East as the senatorial candidate. The primary has not been held. You can see that the delegates are still waiting while they have smuggled in a name as the winner of an imaginary primary election.
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the governor had no hand in party primaries.
Emelumba said that Mrs Akeredolu was protesting because the ‘thugs she imported’ from Ondo State to rig the process were intercepted and arrested by the police.