Edo: No going back on direct primaries, Oshiomhole tells govs
MOVES by the governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to intercede on behalf of their colleague, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, for the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) to review its stance on direct primaries for the governorship election in the state were unsuccessful on Monday.
The governors could not convince Oshiomhole to accept the indirect primaries favoured by the incumbent governor, who is seeking a fresh mandate ahead of the September election.
The APC chairman said his leadership would not reverse itself on its choice of direct primaries, as it had since issued guidelines for the June 22 primaries in Edo State.
Checks revealed that by provisions of the party constitution, there are three options for the party’s standard bearer to emerge for elective offices: direct, indirect and consensus.
Further checks revealed that only a superior statutory organ of the party, the National Executive Committee (NEC), could reverse Oshiomhole-led NWC on its adoption of direct primaries.
Addressing newsmen after his closed-door meeting with certain APC governors led by Kebbi State governor and chairman of Progressives Governors’ Forum, Senator Atiku Bagudu, the APC national chairman urged all aspirants, including Governor Obaseki, to prepare for direct primaries.
He said: “We have since published our timetable because under the law we are required
to give INEC at least 21 days notice to monitor our primaries and to state the mode of our primaries and, of course, NWC had approved direct primaries for Edo. That of Ondo has not been discussed because that will come much later. Edo will come about three weeks before Ondo.
“We have commenced the sale of forms, I think as of last Friday, to my knowledge, three people had picked the forms. I think by today, more people have picked the forms. So we’re selling forms to all those who wish to buy based on the guidelines and, of course, as the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum rightly said, we have ensured in our letter to INEC and even this morning we had a virtual meeting with INEC leadership that we will conduct primaries, taking into account the protocols on COVID-19 by the Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). I think ev- erything has been going fine.
“You know that governors are assets to our party and once a candidate emerged, we all work and ensure that we do our best to persuade the people in the respective states to favour us with their votes and I am sure that by the special grace of God, the Ondo State governor is here, he did well and electorate are more sophisticated now, so we have no fear about that.
“Obaseki is not here but issues of primaries are well spelt out in our constitution and we are following it as strictly as possible. So nothing to worry about at all.”
Speaking with newsmen, Governor Bagudu admitted that the governors sent emissaries to Lagos to meet with the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, to seek his intervention on the Edo APC crisis.
Governor Bagudu was, however, evasive on the thrust of the governors’ meeting with Oshiomhole as he only said: “This a meeting with the national leadership of our party to discuss issues between the governors’ forum and party leadership that will lead to the progress of our party.
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