By Ebireri Henry Ovie, with Additional reports by NAN.
Former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye on Saturday reviewed the destruction in Ikorodu over the National Assembly primaries in Lagos East, describing the action of the lawmaker representing Kosofe Constituency in the Lagos State House of Assembly, and his associates as dangerous trend.
Ogunleye said it was the party’s duty to hold free and fair primaries but it has miserable failed to do so.
But the News Agency of Nigeria is reporting on its website that Senator Gbenga Ashafa lost his bid to return to the Senate, for a third term on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
The 63 year-old senator lost by a wide margin, the primary for the Lagos East ticket to a four-term House of Assembly member, Bayo Osinowo, according to the results announced Saturday by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Electoral Committee of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly primaries in Lagos.
Ashafa was expected to run unopposed in the primary as Osinowo was not originally cleared by the National Working Committee of the APC to stand in the election. It was not clear when the NWC gave Osinowo the nod to run for the seat.
As far as the Ashafa Support Group is concerned, the result may be a nullity as Ashafa only went into the primary for affirmation. In . other words, he ran against himself.
“Hon. Bayo did not scale through the screening of the party and so could not contest an election. Senator Gbenga Ashafa only came out to be affirmed by his constituents”, the group tweeted on Friday.
The senatorial primaries initially held on Thursday, but were cancelled and rescheduled owing to logistic issues.
Announcing the results in Ikeja, Chairman of the committee, Mr Lucky Imasuen, said the primaries were contested for the three senatorial seats, 24 House of Representatives and 40 state House of Assembly seats .
In the results of the senatorial primaries, Imasuen said Sen.Oluremi Tinubu, who was unopposed, polled 89,494 votes to emerge as candidate for Lagos Central.
For Lagos West, the committee chairman said the incumbent, Sen. Olamilekan Solomon emerged winner with 378,906 votes, as against the 1,179 votes scored by Mr Kayode Opeifa and Mrs. Areago Olopade’s 1,275 votes .
Imasuen, a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, added that a member of the state House of Assembly, Mr . Bayo Osinowo defeated the incumbent Sen. Gbenga Ashafa with 247,743 votes to emerge candidate for the Lagos East Senatorial district.
He disclosed that Ashafa, the incumbent, polled 20,385 in the primary.
Imasuen said the details of the House of Representatives and state House of Assembly primaries results were ready and that they would be released later.
He described the exercise as peaceful and successful.
“The primaries were peaceful and successful.
“We thank the state chapter led by Tunde Balogun for the support for the committee.
“We also thank all other stakeholders including all members of our party in the state for making the conduct a success,” he said
However, addressing journalists in Ikorodu, Ogunleye stated that open secret voting remain a vital process for the development of democracy in Nigeria.
He described the APC primary in Ikorodu as a charade.
“It was supposed to be affirmation. The party disqualified Bayo Osinowo. The exercise was disrupted by thugs, electoral officers and government functionaries who disappeared with materials in Ikorodu” he said.
Ogunleye condemned Osinowo for not quitting the senatorial race after disqualification by the National Working Committee of the ruling party.
Similarly, former Secretary to Lagos State Government, Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun, has urged politicians to eschew violence and rigging.
He said Osinowo was disqualified from standing as a candidate by the appropriate authority.
“We expected a primary to affirm Ashafa’s candidature and our current House of Representatives candidate who has no opponent. The only person who opposed him stepped down. The National Working Committee cleared Senator Gbenga Ashafa. We got to the venue, I started smelling foul play. We got to the field, I saw my own chairman directing people to the other side. Unfortunately for them, the votes in Ward C2 exceeded the number of people accredited. This was replicated in all the wards in Ikorodu. They eloped with the materials and went on to write the results” he said.
Basorun, lawyer and former Central Bank of Nigeria director, described Osinowo as an ineligible candidate.
“They are doing nothing. The result is nothing. Bayo Osinowo cannot contest. Once a single candidate has been cleared by the appropriate authority, there is no opponent. Ashafa is our sole candidate for Lagos East senatorial district” he stated.
He said the fake votes cast in favour of the Lagos State House of Assembly member should be treated as thrown away.
“Osinowo has no respect for the party’ he said.
The former Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman who scolded some government officials for working against the interest of the party advised politicians to abide by the rules of the game.
He also urged the party to discipline Osinowo.
“The party must be strict on this particular matter. Some people cannot sit somewhere and think they are above the party. The party must discipline the man who asked people to vote for him in Lagos East senatorial district