By Patrick Ochoga
…Says Obaseki Not Scare of Direct Primaries
As the raging controversy and debate continue to elicit reaction in political circle over the last week decision by the National Working Committee, NWC of the All Progressive Congress, APC to adopt direct primary for Edo state, the Special Adviser to Godwin Obaseki on political matters, Hon Osaro Idah, weekend faulted the directive of NWC.
Idah, a former acting state chairman of the APC in Edo, in a reaction in Benin City, Edo state, pointed out that since the National Executive Committee, NEC meeting held in 2018 where the decision was agreed upon, NEC is yet to meet to take any decision on it adding that NWC can only recommend at that level.
He, however stated that irrespective of the mode of primaries, Obaseki is not scared and will win the primaries and election clean and square but insisted that the right thing as stipulated the party’s constitution must be strictly adhered to.
On the allegation by the factional State Secretary of the party, Lawrence Okah, that state government had planned to inflate cases of COVID 19 to scuttle the forthcoming primaries, Idah said the statement was made out of crass ignorance, lack of deep thought and careless political allegation.
He called on the Directorate of State Security, DSS to investigate and prosecute anybody that may have concocted such plans.
He said: “I won’t have respond to this because I have not seen it in any of the major news channel in Nigeria, either in the print or television. I thought it was mere speculation but having noticed that there is no reaction from the National Executive Working committee dispelling the stories call my reaction.
“First of all it is not possible for the NWC to make such declaration because it is not within their rights. The constitution of the party is very clear as to who have rights to do so. It is the party at the state level that has the right to say the mode of primaries they want to adopt and this is subject to the last NEC meeting held in 2018 where this instruction was approved and since then nothing has been said by NEC that it has changed.
“Even last year when election was held in Kogi state it was the kogi people that declared that they wanted indirect primaries so what has changed? I think they are just flying a kite to see reaction. At the state level, the state Executive Council of the party has done the right thing by stating what type of primary election they want.
“In any case who says we are scared of direct primaries? Not at all. At any instance, the governor will win free and square, we only want the right thing to be done; we don’t want to expand any body’s ego on either side. The fact is that we want the extant law to be obeyed not because we are scared of direct primaries. Let’s us follow the rule as it is, you can’t change the post in the middle of the game. How do you put thousands of people in a place because of party primaries?
He further argued that adopting direct primaries without a comprehensive party’s member list will be counter-productive.
“The only time we pretended to have a register for the party was when APC was formed. It was not even properly done because i was the interim chairman of the party in the state. We just assumed that the members of ACN moved to the party. We don’t have a proper register of APC members throughout the country. People have died, travelled and some have left the party and the constitution says we must go for update every 6 months.
“Where are we going to get register for the primary when you say direct, it is a lazy thing to think that you bring a register within two or three weeks to conduct primary. Are we going to the market to bring market women to come and vote? For indirect the records are with INEC. At the last Presidential election during nomination INEC came to observe because they have record of principal officer across the state.”