The National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Clement Ebri have declared Babajide Sanwo-Olu the winner of Lagos state governorship primary elections held on Tuesday 2 October after their initial insistence on the cancellation of the exercise.
Lagos state incumbent Governor Akiwunmi Ambode polled 72, 901 while Sanwo-Olu polled 970,851 to emerge the party's candidate going to the 2019 general elections.
The Ebiri-led NWC that monitored the party’s governorship primary had earlier nullified the exercise held across the 20 local government areas of the state.
Ebri, who addressed the press around 4:30 pm at Protea Hotel, Alausa, said the election could not have hold because the committee was still expecting the list of officials appointed to supervise the election.
Later after his formal verdict, Ebri upheld the results of the primaries held across the state and declared Sanwo-Olu as winner.
“Governor Akinwunmi Ambode 72,901 votes, the other aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu 970,851. I Clement Ebri, the chairman Lagos governorship primary committee hereby declare Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the winner of that election. Thank you,” Ebri said.
Prior to Ebri's declaration of Sanwo-Olu as the party's candidate in next year's election, APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole maintained who briefed President Buhari on the election said “Everything that is being done (in Lagos) is done under the control of and supervision and direction of the NWC.”
He added that measures were being taken to ensure the primary did not go violent.
According to him, “Democracy doesn’t flourish with violence and Nigeria must begin to learn how to differ in opinion and in choice without fighting. And for me, I am excited that if we can do it in Lagos, we can do it anywhere.”
The party chairman in Lagos, Tunde Balogun had earlier rejected the cancellation of the election result by the NWC and stood his ground, saying the previous cancellation position of the NWC will not stand.
“I am the APC chairman for Lagos State and I cannot disenfranchise about 1.5 million people that took part in this exercise all over the state. It will be unfair and unjust to do so,” Balogun said.
He told reporters, “The election stands because it was conducted according to the constitution of the party. A large number of you were at the different venues where it held. The primary took place in all the 245 wards and it was peaceful,"
"Or did you experience violence anywhere? Not a single case of violence was recorded. It was peaceful, fair and transparent. It was not secretive; it was direct primary and that is what we did.”
Asked about the NWC’s concern with guidelines, he answered: “What guidelines are you talking about? The basic tool for direct primary is to have people accredited.
Once that is done, you count the numbers of those that have decided to queue behind any aspirant of their choice.”
The party consequently announced Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the primary yesterday.