Alast minute negotiation seemed to have saved the impending intraparty acrimony that was underway in the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) as a result of the method the party is expected to deploy in its primaries to select its leaders but as thing stand, there will be more work as positions keep shifting every now and then.
After a stormy caucus meeting at the presidential villa where different opinions were canvassed as regards for or against the direct and indirect primary system, the APC at its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, the highest decision making organ of the party, had eventually arrived at the direct system for the presidential election and allowed the states to alternate between the two, depending on the method that best suits the situation on ground.
Even though the decision to implement the direct primary system had elicited wider commendation from party faithful who believed that the process would put paid to delegate trading where the highest bidder wins the race, others say it as another dangerous adventure that could undermine the internal democratic principles of the party and even further open avenues for deep pocket politicking.
At another level, stakeholders’ worry and concern is hinged on the fact that, while there is yet to be a comprehensive and acceptable party register, the process is more likely to be susceptible to manipulation in order to suit particular interests.
Also, the cost of running a direct primary, baring in mind that logistics to conduct a state-wide direct primary would be almost twice that of the delegate system is another factor that those against this method are hinging their arguments on.
However, the process of direct primaries seems to elicit the nod of some party leaders like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who says the involvement of all APC members in nominations will ensure that the party chooses the candidate of the people.
This line of thought from some party leaders has now put them on a collision course with another section of party leaders especially the governors who are at loggerheads with some members of the party from their states occupying one elective position or the other. This group have stoutly champion the indirect system hence, Thursday’s NEC meeting was a welcomed idea to them.
Sensing that trouble was in the offing, the party, barely 24 hours after NEC, adjusted its earlier position on the use of indirect primary, saying that the direct primary is to be adopted for all the primaries into elective positions.
It however added a caveat that the NEC actually resolved to use direct primary for all primary election, while states wishing to use indirect primary should hold a stakeholders meeting, agree on it and thereafter obtain an approval from the NWC.
The party grounded its argument that its constitution though provides for Indirect Election and Consensus, the use of Indirect Primaries is conditional and dependent on logistic impediments; peculiarities and need of a given State that makes it unable to use Direct Primaries.
“The State Executive Committee (SEC) shall in consultation with aspirants and other critical stakeholders of the Party in a given State forward for the consideration and approval by the National Working Committee (NWC), if Indirect Primaries is to be adopted.
“The request for Indirect Primaries must be signed by majority of the State Executive Committee and critical stakeholders in attendance at the meeting where such resolution is reached.
It is now evident that going into the general elections, the APC will have a lot of placating to do as the stage seem to be set for a major confrontation between stakeholders of the party at different levels. What this may lead to, is anybody’s guess.
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