THE Senator representing Kwara Central in the National Assembly Ibrahim Oloriegbe has revealed that some delegates returned money he gave them after he lost the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial primary election.
Oloriegbe, who is among several lawmakers who lost tickets to return to the National Assembly, disclosed this in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He said, “In my own primary election, 17 delegates came back to give me money which I gave them for logistics. Others did not because they said ‘we wanted to vote for you, but we are not allowed to vote’. There was one of my colleagues in Kogi who mentioned that people came back (to return his money).”
The senator criticised the process through which delegates that voted in primary elections were selected.
According to him, the system allowed governors to impose their preferred candidates.
Oloriegbe said, “There was no congress, like in my state, the governor just handpicked them (the delegates) one night and said we have done primaries and the list came. So, you don’t even know who the delegates are and this happened in several states.
“Even where people are selected, they should be given the freedom to exercise their franchise by voting for who they want, but it was not like that.
“The governors selected those to whom they would give instructions and some of them took an oath to vote where the governors direct them.
“This was what happened in Kwara State.”
He added, “I could say in many states where we are having governors, we are running what we call a ‘governortocracy’ where the governors just decide what will happen.
“The primary process ought to start with the election of delegates.
“In almost everywhere, there was no proper election of delegates; they were selected by the governors, or by some individuals where there were no governors in the party.”
He blamed the governors for the large number of lawmakers who failed to get return tickets to the National Assembly.
“You can imagine, we had 68 senators – three seats are vacant – before the primaries, and out of the 68, only 28 had tickets to come back,” he noted.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: email@example.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M