The primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for aspirants vying for the bye-election into Jos North/Bassa federal constituency has ended in a stalemate.
A two-term member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, polled a total of 344 votes and Hon. Joseph Abbey Aku, a former Commissioner of Commerce in Gov. Simon Lalong-led administration also scored 344 votes out of the 810 delegates accredited.
The 7-man electoral panel announced to journalists after the exercise that two contestants, Aku and Kwande scored the highest votes cast.
While announcing the results of the exercise, which lasted over 24 hours, chairman of the election panel, Hon. Abu Ajiya said four aspirants had vied for the ticket.
They included Hon Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Hon Abbey Aku, Hon Lumumba Dah Adeh and Aliyu Adamu.
According to him, “There was a stalemate. Two aspirants emerged with highest scores, they were Hon Abbey Aku and Hon Suleiman Yahaya Kwande. Each of them polled 344 votes.
“In this situation, the panel is not in the position to declare a winner or take any decision. We have to revert to the national secretariat of the party, only the party has the power to take decisions in such a stalemate.”
However, Hon. Ajiya was silent on the number of votes scored by Adeh and Adamu, who also participated in the election.
The situation created tension among party members, delegates and aspirants, who expected a clear cut winner in the election.
Both aspirants expressed disappointment with the outcome of the election.
Speaking shortly after the exercise, Aku said, “I sensed foul play by the election panel. I knew I won the election because my agent was texting me the results as they were counting them. When that of Jos North was counted, he sent the result to me, and when that of Bassa was counted he also sent it to me. I put my scores in both local governments together and my votes were 367, while that of my closest opponent was 340.
“So, I am shocked to hear that there is a stalemate, how did that happen? It is left for the election panel to explain. But as far as I am concerned, this result is unacceptable to me.”
In his reaction, Kwande said, “I know I won this election fair and square. I am extremely disappointed in my party and I am not happy. I am an adult, no one can coerce me into doing what I don’t want to do.
Kwande said, “First, we came here around 9am on Tuesday to start the primaries, but the election started at about 10pm and lasted till late Wednesday morning before we went on break.
“We came back and continued with voting. I don’t know how it will be a tie, as far as I am concerned, I won this election with a clear margin.
“I know the forces that were against me, I entered into the race as a free citizen. I know how I helped this party to come into power in Plateau and at the national level.
“Hon. Abe is my brother and it is sad that they are putting us at each other’s throats, this is an election that I won clearly, he knows it.”
Also speaking, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Sylvanus Namang, told journalists that all the contestants were given a level playing ground, “which was why the processes were 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.”
Namang, however, said the national secretariat is likely to order a re-run for the two aspirants with the highest votes. In this case, between Him Suleiman Kwande and Hon Abbey Aku.
Jos North/Bassa bye-election: APC primary election ends in stalemate as Kwande, Abbey claim victory