A former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has accused a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Olabode George, and the governorship candidate of the party in the state, Jimi Agbaje, of recruiting armed thugs to achieve their aims at the governorship primary held on December 8.
The former minister said, “I also saw the police recovered five guns and rounds of ammunition and live cartridges from the thugs brought by Chief Olabode George and Mr. Jimi Agbaje, a co-aspirant.”
This is contained in an affidavit he filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja, in support of his suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/994/2014, challenging the conduct of the December 8, 2014 governorship primary in which Agbaje was declared as the winner.
Obanikoro, with 343 votes, came second behind Agbaje who polled 432 votes to clinch the party’s ticket. Three other candidates participated in the poll.
But the former minister is, through his suit filed on December 15, 2014, urging the court to nullify the primary and order a fresh one to be conducted on the grounds of alleged electoral irregularities that marred the December 8, 2014 exercise.
On Wednesday, the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, following Obanikoro’s counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), moved an ex parte application, asked the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission to appear in court on December 23.
He directed the two defendants in the suit to appear in court to show cause why he (the judge) should not make an order of interim injunction restraining them from presenting or accepting any name as the PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State, pending the determination of the suit.
The judge, on Wednesday, declined to grant the restraining order as sought by the plaintiff’s counsel through the ex parte application.
Rather than grant the order, Justice Mohammed asked the plaintiff to put the defendants on notice for them to appear in court to show cause why the order should not be granted.
The former minister alleged in his suit filed on December 18 that the election was marred by electoral irregularities, such as over-voting, intimidation of his delegates by thugs loyal to George and Agbaje as well as improper accreditation of delegates.
He said there were 806 delegates accredited for the primaries but “surprisingly from the 806 accredited delegates, the electoral officers returned a total number of 866 votes.”
He added that the accreditation of delegates which ought to last between 8am and 12pm, as stipulated by the Electoral Guidelines published by the PDP, did not start until as late as 6.30pm.
In an affidavit personally deposed to by him, Obanikoro stated, “That the thugs earlier brought by Chief Olabode George and Mr. Jimi Agbaje, a co-aspirant, at this point began to disrupt the venue by throwing bottles, stones and firing gunshots in the direction of the delegates loyal to me and preventing other delegates loyal to me from entering the venue.
“That the gunshots attracted another detachment of policemen, who engaged the thugs in a gun and tear gas battle during which many of the delegates loyal to me ran for their dear lives to avoid being caught in the crossfire between the police and the armed thugs.
“That I know as a fact that many of my delegates who ran for their dear lives in the ensuing violence and gun battle never returned and were consequently disenfranchised, as it took the police several hours to restore some semblance of normalcy.
“That I saw that the police recovered five guns and rounds of ammunitions and live cartridges from the thugs brought by Chief Olabode George and Mr. Jimi Agbaje , a co-aspirant.”