The intervention of Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, in the budding impasse between governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and senior lawmakers of the party helped to stem a larger crisis that would have erupted within the party, LEADERSHIP gathered yesterday.
Although the vice president was acting on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, on whose desk the Electoral Act Amendment bill is, it was learnt that the timely convening of the meeting helped to avert a messy engagement between the governors and lawmakers of the party.
A source conversant with the meeting revealed that while Osinbajo didn’t take a side in the matter, he provided the environment for the stakeholders to work towards a middle ground on the issue.
Recall that the APC governors, under the aegis of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) had protested the passage by the National Assembly of the Section 87 on mandatory direct primaries for all parties in the Electoral Amendment Bill.
Rising from a closed-door meeting of PGF on Monday night, chairman of the forum and Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu said adopting direct primaries by political parties would overstretch the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, Osinbajo had convened a meeting of APC governors and lawmakers leaders on Tuesday night over the impasse caused by the direct primaries.
Sources conversant with the outcome of the meeting confided in LEADERSHIP that the meeting afforded the opposing camps an opportunity to advance their arguments on the matter.
The source added, “The party and governors thought an outright ‘direct primaries only mandate’ may be impractical.
“NASS members felt governors have been high-handed but didn’t even say that at yesterday’s meeting-only previously.
“The VP was playing the role of moderator on behalf of the President. So, he took no sides but insisted on unity and concord and that party must always engage actively within itself while ensuring internal democracy.
“VP ended the meeting only when everyone had been given a fair chance to ventilate. It was his (VP’s) idea with the support of the President’s to bring everyone involved round the table to discuss what has become a divisive issue between governors and NASS members,” the source added.