The All Progressives Congress, APC, Osun State primaries for the Osun West senatorial district, was on Wednesday temporarily thrown into confusion as Ademola Adeleke, an aspirant for the ticket, brought a letter indicating his withdrawal from the race.
Mr. Adeleke, who is the younger brother of the late former senator occupying the seat, was cleared to become the sole candidate on Saturday after his rival, Mudashiru Hussein, was disqualified by the screening committee.
Although the primary was earlier slated for Tuesday June the 13, it was shifted to Wednesday.
A party spokesman, Kunle Ayatomi, confirmed that Mr. Adeleke withdrew from the race belatedly after the election process was well underway.
“The process has already started this morning when (Adeleke) brought a letter announcing his withdrawal from the race,” he said.
“But the process has already started and we cannot stop it, and so for us he is still contesting.”
Mr. Ayatomi however noted that he heard the rumour of his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and that he had already been given the ticket to contest for the position.
Meanwhile, the election was still going on as delegates had continued to cast their votes regardless.
Mr. Ayatomi said the exercise would be concluded according to the rules, notwithstanding the withdrawal of the aspirant.
But the News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Hussein, who was earlier disqualified but later cleared by the APC National Working Committee, would now contest the primary unopposed.
Mr. Adeleke would also contest the bye-election unopposed as the other aspirants on the platform of PDP all agreed to step down for him.
NAN recalls that the screening committee of the APC headed by Zamfara House of Assembly Speaker, Sanusi Rikiji, had on Sundaydisqualified Mr. Hussein for remaining in active public service against the stipulated party’s guideline.
According to Mr. Rikiji, the party’s guideline stipulates that any aspirant that wants to contest an elective office is expected to have resigned from public service 30 days before the primaries.
The disqualification was upheld by the Appeal Committee of the party headed by Abdulahi Bello.
Mr. Hussein, a two-term House of Representatives member and a one-term senator, took oath of allegiance as commissioner on May 30 and was given Cabinet Matters portfolio.
The former lawmaker, however, rejected the claim of the committee that he had not resigned, saying “I have resigned my position to contest again for the senatorial seat.”
The APC NWC in Abuja, however, cleared Mr. Hussein for the primary.
The primary was scheduled to hold on Monday but was shifted till Tuesday to enable the party’s NWC to study the Screening Committee’s report.
It was again shifted to Wednesday.
NAN also reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed July 8 for the bye-election to fill the vacuum created by the death of Adeleke on April 23.
Security was beefed up in Osogbo, the Osun capital, and Iwo Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday as the primaries for the two parties got underway.