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Ahead of the July 14 Ekiti State election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday inaugurated election and primary appeal committees.

The APC’s National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso, on behalf of the party’s national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, inaugurated these committees at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

The five-member primary election committee set up to elect the party’s flagbearer for the 2018 Ekiti governorship election is chaired by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, while the three-member appeal committee is chaired by Fati Balla.

The primary election of the party is scheduled for Saturday, May 5.

Other members of the primary election committee include: Magaji Aliyu (Secretary), Duke Oshodin, Robert Okwuego and Tunde Balogun.

The appeal committee on the other hand include: Bala Jibrin (Secretary) and Lilian Obenwa.

During the inauguration of the committees, Mr Izunaso, who said the APC was poised to win the Ekiti governorship election, charged the committee to ensure a transparent exercise. He noted that the party has no preferred candidate as it seeks to dethrone the governing Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti.

He said the committee should rely on the party’s guidelines for the nomination of candidates for public office, particularly section 14 (iii) which stipulates the composition of the Electoral College/delegates, secret balloting at a venue in the state capital and declaring winner an aspirant with the highest vote.

“If we conduct a transparent primary, any aspirant that wins will surely become the next governor of Ekiti state… The party has no preferred candidate, there is no such thing in our lexicon. It does not exist. All aspirants are equal until after the election.”

The National Organising Secretary who disclosed that the official delegates list has been given to all aspirants said no petition has been received on the list and all 33 aspirants have been cleared by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to contest the primaries.

Although the screening committee headed by Timipre Slyvia had disqualified four aspirants, the party decided to clear all to give a level playing ground for all aspirants.

The party, however, didn’t reveal the names of the aspirants disqualified.

The aspirants for the Ekiti state governorship election are: Gbenga Aluko, Femi Bamisile, Bamidele Faparusi, Wole Oluyede, Debo Ajayi, Diran Adesua, Kola Alabi, Makanjuola Owolabi, Sunday Adebomi, Dele Okeya, Muyiwa Olumilua, Bisi Aloba and Adekunle Esan from Ekiti South.

Aspirants from Ekiti Central include Femi Ojudu, Opeyemi Bamidele, Victor Kolade, Dipo Ogunkoyode, Oluwole Oluleye, Tosin Olofinluyi, Kayode Ojo, Adebayo Orire and Bodunde Adeyanju.

From Ekiti North are Ayo Arise, Bimbo Daramola, Muyiwa Coker, Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi among others.

Mr Izunaso urged the primary election committee to convene a meeting with aspirants and party chieftains in the state to agree on modalities for the primaries.

Meanwhile, Mr Al-Makura, who spoke on behalf of the committees, said they were grateful for the assignment.

“We thank the party for considering us worthy to carry out this very critical and important assignment at this point in time. As far as we are concerned, we consider this assignment as a family affair which has to be done in strict conformity with our Party’s guidelines and the constitution. I wish to assure the National Working Committee that by the special Grace of God, we as members of the Ekiti governorship primary will do justice to this exercise.

“We will ensure free and fair election, conformity and adherence to all the guidelines so that by the time the exercise is over, the Party will become stronger and more cohesive. This will be the beginning of the assurance of our great party to reclaim the mandate in Ekiti state.”

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