*State chairmen insist on indirect primaries
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has disowned the meeting held by some party members opposing the choice of using direct primaries to pick its candidates for all elective positions in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
According to our source, some party members believed to be sponsored by state governors who claim the direct primaries does not favour them had scheduled a meeting in Abuja, to forge a way forward against the stance of the party.
The Daily Times recalls that the APC, rising from its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on August 30 had settled for the direct primary election to elect candidates to contest elective positions in the 2019 general elections.
But in a statement signed by the acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena on Sunday, the APC stated that the meeting scheduled to hold at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja on Sunday by some organs of the party is illegal.
The statement stated that “the attention of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to an illegal meeting scheduled to hold on Sunday at Transcorp Hilton hotel in Abuja, by some members of our party organs, with a view to fault the decisions made by the NWC followed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) as regards the mode of the party’s primary elections.
“We want to state clearly that the meeting which has been fixed for 2.00 pm is illegal and an attempt to puncture the sincere efforts being made by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC to reposition our party ahead of the 2019 general elections and to ensure unity, equity and justice in the party”.
The party noted that the outcome of such a meeting which is already known will be a nullity, admonishing members to disregard such meetings in the interest of the party. Nabena insisted that “it is illegal to call such meetings outside the purview of the constituted authority.
“The identities of those plotting such meetings have been identified and unless they desist from such, they will be dealt with in line with the party’s constitution at the appropriate time.
The NWC will resist any attempt to disrupt the current peace and harmony prevailing in our great party after the exit of some members”.
The party urged members who are not satisfied with the decisions of the party to utilize channels provided by the party’s constitution to air their views, adding that “we remain focused in delivering good governance to Nigerians and above all ensuring the victory for our party come 2019 and we will not be intimidated by the antics of a few, in ensuring success for our party”.
But our correspondent later gathered that 35 state chairmen of the party met behind closed doors in certain location in Abuja and allegedly reached a resolution dissociating the chapters of the party from the earlier decision of the APC to adopt direct primaries.
The chairmen also reportedly considered passing a vote of no confidence on the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomohle over the direct primaries decision.
According to a source who pleaded anonymity, the forum of APC state chairmen will do everything possible to resist the imposition of the direct primary option, including passing a vote of no confidence on the Oshiomohle-led NWC.
The source further confirmed that all the state chairmen of the party and some APC national officers were in attendance at the meeting.
The source said, “Majority of the state chairmen are here and those that could not make it sent representatives. We are talking and our resolutions will be made known to public very soon. But, it won’t be today (Sunday) because we are still consulting and meeting.”
The meeting, it was observed also had in attendance some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and some ex-officio members of the party.
Earlier at a press conference at his Maitama residence, the APC National Vice Chairman (North-East), Comrade Mustapha Salihu, accused some leaders of the party from the South-West of conspiring to foster regional imperialism on the party.
Salihu believe that apart from the fact that the direct primaries system requires a lot of supervision, the electoral body was not prepared for the system.
“Before now, I don’t have any feelings that there was the possibility of conspiracy, but when I see people planting stories, I now begin to suspect; if one region feels that was what is best for them, I think they can canvass that at the regional level and they now give us reasons why they need that.
“I want to believe that in a democracy, the majority have their way and the minority have their say. So, they have the right to wish and if we decide to make it flexible, definitely, what they want will be given to them at their own various states.
“But one thing I want to assure you is that we will not succumb to regional imperialism so long that we are acting within the constitution,” he added.
When asked if the NWC is divided on the method to use for the primaries, Mustapha answered that “I cannot say we are divided because division is a big word for us to use in a family issue. Actually, there may be divergent views, and all these divergent views will be trashed out at the NEC”.