Security was beefed up in Osogbo, the Osun capital, and Iwo Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic (PDP) primaries for Osun-West Senatorial District bye-election got underway.
While APC was holding its primary in Osogbo, PDP convened its own in Iwo Local Government Area of the state.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who are at the venues of the primaries, report that there was heavy presence of mobile and regular policemen as well as officers of the Department of State Security Service and NSCDC.
NAN also reports that Demola Adeleke, the younger brother of late Sen. Isiaka Adeleke, who had been cleared to contest for the primary on the platform of APC, defected to the PDP on Tuesday evening.
Sen. Mudashiru Hussein, who was earlier disqualified but later cleared by the APC National Working Committee, would now contest the primary unopposed.
Adeleke would also contest the bye-election unopposed as the other aspirants on the platform of PDP all agreed to step down for him.
Both primaries had commenced, with APC and PDP delegates already at the venues of both primaries.
NAN recalls that the Screening Committee of the APC headed by Zamfara House of Assembly Speaker, Sanusi Rikiji , had on Sunday disqualified Hussein for remaining in active public service against the stipulated party’s guideline.
According to Rikiji, the party’s guideline stipulates that any aspirant that wants to contest an elective office is expected to have resigned from public service 30 days before the primaries.
The disqualification was upheld by the Appeal Committee of the party headed by Abdulahi Bello.
Hussein, a two-term House of Representatives member and a one-term senator, took oath of allegiance as commissioner on May 30 and was given Cabinet Matters portfolio.
The former lawmaker, however, rejected the claim of the committee that he had not resigned, saying “I have resigned my position to contest again for the senatorial seat.”
The APC NWC in Abuja, however, cleared Hussein for the primary.
The primary was scheduled to hold on Monday but was shifted till Tuesday to enable the party’s NWC to study the Screening Committee’s report.
It was again shifted to Wednesday.
NAN also reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed July 8 for the bye-election to fill the vacuum created by the death of Adeleke on April 23.