Ahead of the Saturday’s convention, President Muhammadu Buhari, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governors elected on the party’s platform met yesterday to fine-tune grey areas arising from the various primaries. LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that the primaries in some states like Zamfara, Imo, Adamawa, Enugu, Ogun, Zamfara, Bauchi and Abia were serious contentious and were either shifted, rescheduled or outrightly cancelled. LEADERSHIP Friday reports that all political parties are expected to submit the names of their candidates vying for various elective positions to the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) by Sunday night. But speaking to journalists after the meeting which lasted over three hours, the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who likened the gathering to “a political clinic”, stated that the meeting was to find lasting solutions to areas that have naughty issues.
Oshiomhole said, “We met with various leaders, whoever has challenges. This is like the political clinic. We are in a situation room and it is normal that when you are carrying out a democratic exercise across the 36 states and the FCT, you are bound to have some challenges.
“First, for the FCT, I think there are some elements who believe that they can hijack the process and impose their personal preferences. We are trying to clean up our party’s internal democracy and eliminate corruption as much as we can, from the process and empower our party members to have a say and a decisive voice on who represents them or who flies the flag of the party. FCT is the capital of Nigeria. If we cannot do transparent election in FCT, then for me, it will be a sad day. “We are trying to encourage democracy and if they don’t want democracy, they will have to look for ways of living outside the democratic space. The APC is determined to enforce all the rules of democracy in the FCT. The day was wasted because instead of going to vote they chose to go to APC office, sponsored people who wants to manipulate the process. I have told those who care to listen that my only purpose as chairman of the APC is to deepen those core values of democracy namely popular participation and give everyone a sense of ownership of happenings in the party.
“FCT will have to do direct primary. I have told the committee to go back, call the stakeholders and by tomorrow morning, they will have to conduct free, fair and transparent direct primary in the FCT. This is not negotiable. Those aspirants who are looking for short cuts should know that there is no short cut to the democratic process. If you cannot withstand the rigour of communication, persuading and earning the trust and respect of the ordinary member of the APC in the FCT, maybe APC should not be your party because we are committed to popular participation”. Oshiomhole also spoke on the Zamfara botched election, saying reports available to them suggested that the process was “botched, materials were snatched and results taken to unauthorized places. He stated: “The panel we sent there has come to explain in unison what transpired. It is unfortunate that many people choose to opt for violence. But I am happy that the panel refused to compromise and stood their ground even in the face of intimidation. “We are going to conduct free, fair primary in Zamfara. This process has to be done according to the rules and regulations of the APC and that means it will be done by the electoral body and not by the state government or agents of the state government. “Every member of the party in Zamfara State has a right and that right must be respected by the NWC to vote for any aspirant of their own choice. No amount of blackmail will make us to abandon that. That is the right thing to do. My mandate as chairman of the APC is to be faithful to our constitution. I swore an oath of office to be just to every member of the APC. For me, this oath of office is meant to be obeyed. We are going to set up a new committee that will conduct the election in Zamfara. Any election that is not conducted in accordance with the guideline will not be accepted. When we say direct primary, we mean direct primary.”
Raising concerns on time frame necessary to get issues sorted out, Kebbi State governor, Alh Atiku Bagudu said, “The chairman said they are going to have NWC meeting and at the same time we are concerned. If we are not having candidates anywhere by the 7th of October, that automatically means we are not fielding candidates for the positions.
“It means if we don’t do primaries before the 7th then we might not be fielding any candidate for the general elections in 2019, so time is our number one enemy. We are working hard and faster to ensure that we get these things done so that we can be able to come for the convention on Saturday.”
Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Owelle Rochas Okoroacha, said he is hopeful that all contending issues will be resolved in time for the general election.
He said, “We will be able to sought out our own crisis as quickly as possible before the main elections. But, what is important is that despite our individual differences we still believe in the man, President Muhammadu Buhari. It is a fact that anytime anyone is angry we are able to resolve our issues before time. And that is why we believe we will remain together and president Buhari emerges the president the second time”.
PMB Meets APC Govs Over Primaries Crisis
Earlier yesterday, President met with governors elected on the platform of the party.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, said they came to review the various crises that rocked the party primaries with a view to finding solutions.
He stated: “We came to review the various crises characterizing our primaries, especially the APC with a view to finding solutions. So, we are looking for a way out in this regard. We are going to find solution, our party believes in justice, equity and fairness.
“We are requesting that the right thing be done and let everyone contest the elections”.
Governors that attended the meeting include Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Abubakar Bello of Niger, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo and Simon Lalong of Plateau.
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