Some House of Assembly aspirants in Ekiti State All Progressives Congress (APC) have kicked against the adoption of 26 of their colleagues as consensus candidates.
The aggrieved aspirants called for the conduct of a transparent, free and fair primary on October 2, ahead of the March 2 nationwide polls.
They also urged the party’s leaders to be impartial and fair to all aspirants jostling for the tickets.
The aspirants said they were shocked that some of them had been adopted as candidates when reconciliation was still ongoing.
The aggrieved aspirants include Ms. Jumoke Owoola (Ido/Osi 2), Mrs. Yetunde Adamu (Ikere 1), Mrs. Mary Oso (Ado 2) and Mr. David Adewole (Ekiti Southwest 2).
Ms Owoola, Mrs Adamu and Mrs Oso urged party leaders to ensure the conduct of a free and fair primary. Adewole protested alleged removal of his name from the consensus list.
He alleged that the aspirant adopted in his constituency, Olatunji Joseph, was seventh in the screening and interview conducted by the party’s elders, adding that he (Adewole) came first.
Ms. Owoola, who insisted that “there is no consensus anywhere”, said other aspirants and their supporters were waiting for the conduct of a credible primary to produce the flag bearers.
Wondering when, where and how the consensus took place, Ms. Owoola urged party leaders to be careful in handling the situation to prevent protest votes in the general elections.
She said it was painful for aspirants preparing for a shadow poll to learn from the media that some of them had been adopted without going through a competitive primary.
Ms. Owoola said: “I heeded the call of my constituency to vie for the Assembly seat and this was based on what I have done for my community.
“We are calling on our leaders to withdraw the consensus list and complete the reconciliation process.
“The party may have preferences but imposition will never work. What we want is justice, equity and fair play.”
Mrs. Adamu said: “Handpicking candidates gives room for mediocrity and many communities are aggrieved with this consensus arrangement.
“I am fighting on principle and not against personalities. Dr Kayode Fayemi promised us direct primary. At what point did it change to consensus? The party should allow us to test our popularity on the field.”
Oso said: “We should all sit down and decide on consensus. They ought to have called us because I don’t understand the kind of politics they are playing.”
Adewole said: “The leaders in Igbara-Odo organised a screening committee for all the 11 aspirants and I came first as the consensus candidate. My name was sent to the party, but to my surprise, the person who came seventh in the screening, has been picked as the consensus candidate.
“Ordinarily, the person is not even known to the town, not to talk of winning the election for the party. He has never attended any meeting in Igbara-Odo.”