By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – The All Progressives Congress, APC primary election for Bassa/Jos North federal constituency bye-election has been declared inconclusive.
The said exercise billed for 9 am on Monday did not commence until about 1 am on Tuesday, with four contestants seeking to get the votes in their favour.
The exercise generated a lot of tension at the Lamonde Hotel, Jos venue as party members, supporters, and delegates were on edge, awaiting the outcome.
Before the official statement declaring the exercise inclusive, supporters of the two leading contestants, Abe Aku and Suleiman Kwande engaged in heated arguments which generated tension, putting security agents at alert.
Announcing the result, the seven-man electoral panel headed by Hon. Habu Saje stated that at the end of the exercise, four aspirants contested and delegates cast their votes. Hon. Joseph Abe Aku and Hon. Suleiman Yahaya Kwande scored 344 votes each, that is a tie, stressing, “Two contending aspirants tied, each got 344 votes and in my capacity as an electoral committee officer of the panel, I cannot make a decision on this matter. I have to refer this matter to the head office (National Secretariat of the APC), now the head office will make a decision and communicate to the aspirants without delay taking into consideration the time is against us.”
The panel did not however mention what the two other contenders scored.
Speaking after the pronouncement of the panel, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya Kwande said “I don’t know how it would be a tie, maybe it is a miracle or not but as far as I am concerned I won this election fair and squarely. I knew what I was up against and the forces that were against me. Nobody can force me to do what I don’t want to do. I am highly disappointed, I am not happy that I have been part of the party (APC) that I have helped to build and be in power and now is trying to do this to me.
“It is said that they are putting two of us at each other’s throats, it is very unfortunate that something that they would have come out clear and tell us.”
On his part, Hon. Joseph Abe Aku started, “The messages my agent sent to me shows I pulled 367 votes as against 344. I won with a gap of 27 votes, where are the other 27 votes? My agent is here, he sent those messages to me, he is my agent, after counting he sent the result to me.”
The State Publicity Secretary of APC, Sylvanus Namang told newsmen that all the contestants were given level playing ground which was why the processes went on free and fair, “but unfortunately we have this stalemate. And as it is, only the national secretariat of the party can resolve this stalemate, the party at the state has no say in this stalemate.”