Despite protests that greeted the outcome of its primary elections, the All Progressives Congress still denied many of its members in the House of Representatives return tickets, SUNDAY PUNCH has gathered.
Investigations showed that as the submission of the final list of successful candidates for the 2019 polls closed on Thursday, many members, who appealed their loss of the primary to the APC Appeal Panel, didn’t get any reprieve from the party.
Findings showed that over 70 lawmakers petitioned the appeal panel, seeking to have their cases reviewed, but lost their appeals.
“The appeal panel didn’t work much in their favour. Only a very few persons were lucky,” a senior parliamentary official informedSUNDAY PUNCH in Abuja.
However, the members were said to be expecting a formal report on the findings of the appeal panel before taking any further steps.
Investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH revealed that only eight out of the over 70 lawmakers, who petitioned, had their names submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The lucky ones so far are the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr. Kayode Oladele; Mr. Isiaka Ibrahim; Mr. Baderinwa White; Mr. Aminu Malle; Mr. Goodluck Opia; Mr. Mayowa Akinfolarin; Mr. Lado Abdullahi and Mr. Jimoh Oladele.
It was gathered that the panel did not invite the majority of the petitioners to any session to defend their petitions or hear their cases.
However, a source close to the appeal panel informed SUNDAY PUNCH that those cleared were found to have “genuine cases.”
The source, who did not want to be named, explained that those who were cleared had genuine cases after a careful study of their petitions.
He said, “This is democracy at work. You can’t lose the confidence of your people at home and rush to Abuja in search of an automatic ticket.”
One of the affected members, Mr. Ayodeji Joseph, told SUNDAY PUNCH that he had nothing to do yet until the party released the report of the panel.
Joseph, who represents Apapa Federal Constituency in Lagos State, stated that since the petition was sent to the party through a formal channel, he expected that he would also be accorded the respect of a formal reply.
A lawmaker from Kaduna State, Mr. Musa Soba, who last week spoke for the affected members, had said they would decide on their next line of action after the appeal panel’s report.
Soba and his colleagues had met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa last Saturday, where the latter reportedly promised to look into the matter.
The meeting was at the instance of Buhari, who summoned the members after he heard of their threats to work against the party in 2019.
Effort of SUNDAY PUNCH to get Soba’s reactions on the latest development had yet to yield fruit as of Saturday.
Another member from Ondo State, Mr. Gabriel Kolawole, declined to speak to SUNDAY PUNCH.
A few of the members, who had their cases resolved in their favour, also declined to talk to SUNDAY PUNCH, saying they were not sure of how their colleagues would react.
Up to 70 per cent of serving lawmakers or 252 out of 360 across political parties may not to return to the House in 2019 as a result of losing the primaries, voluntary withdrawal and contesting other offices.
When SUNDAY PUNCH contacted the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, to verify the figure, he doubted that the non-returning members were up to 252