Kayode Opeifa, a Lagos West Senatorial aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who did not scale the screening hurdle, on Thursday said he had called the sole aspirant cleared, Senator Solomon Adeola, in the interest of the party, to wish him well.
Opeifa, the Executive Secretary for Transportation, FCT Abuja, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at his residence in Lagos after the House of Representatives and Senate primaries in his Ward D, Agege LGA.
According to him, his statement on Thursday to his supporters to be calm and abide by the party’s decision not to clear him is in the interest of the party.
“We should continue to do whatever will deepen democracy.
“I did a lot of consultation (on my name not being cleared); the information I gathered was that there was a need for the party to take a decision, not that we were not qualified.
“It has to do with the interest of the party. As soon as I pulled out, I called Sen. Olamilekan Adeola to wish him well even before the process commenced. Everything is in the interest of the party.
“When you have issues on the interest of the party, the party doesn’t usually explain immediately. I am a party man, I understand that I decided not to wait for the party to explain.
“If it is in the interest of the party, true or false, let me align with the party. Immediately at 10 am prompt, I sent messages out to all my teeming supporters,” Opeifa, a former Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, said.
According to the aspirant, he will always align with President Muhammadu Buhari and the party.
He, however, said that the party’s decision on his ambition was painful to his teeming supporters.
“They (supporters) have the belief that if I was in the race, there was no way I would not have won. I went round, length and breadth of the senatorial district; I know the people wanted me,” Opeifa said.
He said that the party was going through “interesting time” and it would take a core party man to understand.
A NAN correspondent who monitored the exercise at Opeifa’s Ward D at Orile-Agege, Agege LGA observed that hundreds of party faithful were on ground before 9 am.
The exercise later commenced at about 12:30 pm under the watch of APC electoral officers, INEC officials, and security agents.
The party members with APC membership cards or slips were allowed to vote though Option A4 for both the House of Representatives and Senate primaries at the ward.
However, many of Opeifa’s supporters left the venue of the primary at Ward D in Agege in annoyance when they heard of his decision to step down his ambition to support his rival.
Mr. Remi Okunola, one of the Party Electoral Officers, commended the conduct of party members at the centre, where an INEC official, Mrs. Aderemi Awoniyi, was on ground to monitor the exercise.
The ward Chairman, Mr. Musiliu Sanni, described the conduct of party members at the ward as excellent.