Governorship Tickets: APC NWC Okays Direct Primaries For Ogun, Lagos, Kano, Imo, Akwa Ibom
The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday released its approved mode of primaries for 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory for Saturday’s governorship primaries.
According to the list, the direct method, which involves all registered card carrying members of the party; and the indirect mode where elected and statutory delegates take part, will be used.
The APC NWC released the list of approved methods in a statement by the party’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja.
The states that are to elect their governorship candidates via the direct method are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Imo and Kano.
Others are Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Taraba, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory.
States that got the nod to pick candidates using the indirect mode are Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina and Kebbi.
Others are Nasarawa, Oyo, Kogi, Kwara, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Yobe.
Before the Tuesday directive of the APC NWC, some state chapters of the party, including Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Imo and Bauchi, had adopted indirect primaries
The Ogun State chapter of the APC had, at a meeting attended by the state executive of the party, leaders and lawmakers on Thursday, opted for indirect primaries.
In Imo, Governor Rochas Okorocha-backed state executive had said it preferred the indirect primaries despite the opposition of stakeholders, including Senator Hope Uzodima.
The requests of state chapters of the party in Adamawa, Kaduna, Oyo and Rivers for indirect primaries were, however, approved by the NWC.
Reports say the NWC, after weighing options available to it, decided to change the methods in some states.
It was further learnt that such was the case in Imo State where the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha hails from, as the NWC opted for direct primaries.
A highly placed member of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to journalists on the issue, said the decision had to be taken to save the party from implosion.
The source said, “The case of Imo, especially, had to be handled carefully because it is currently our stronghold in the South-East. We decided that we must take a position which will encourage members to remain in the fold. We went for direct primary for two reasons.
“One, we have cases in court arising from the last state congresses. We have learnt a thing or two from the legal tussle between the former National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and the Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
“If we go for the indirect method and the court nullifies the actions of the faction of the state executive in charge of the process, we will have a problem but if we have the direct method where all card carrying members of the party participate we will be safer, it is that simple.
“Secondly, the direct method is more difficult if not impossible to manipulate and the outcome is likely to generate less acrimony.”
Recall that Article 20 of the APC Constitution (October 2014, as Amended), stipulates how primaries for nomination of candidates for election from the local government chairmen to those vying for the position of president should be conducted.
Article 20 (iii) reads, “Nomination of candidates for governor shall be through direct or indirect primary election to be conducted at the appropriate level.
“(iv) a. Further to Article 20 (iii) of this constitution, indirect primaries for the purpose of nominating a candidate shall be done at a designated venue for that purpose, by an electoral college of delegates democratically elected by members of party from the various wards contained in the particular constituency at congresses.”