Ondo 2020: You can’t dictate to APC on mode of primary, Gov Bello tells aggrieved aspirants
•Says adoption of indirect primary irreversible
Ahead Monday primary of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State to pick its candidate for the October governorship election, aspirants who have kicked against the adoption of the indirect mode of primary have been advised to subordinate themselves to the party.
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Belo who incidentally is the chairman of the nine-member primary committee made the declaration on Friday.
Tribune Online‘s findings revealed that eleven of the twelve aspirants seeking to pick the party ticket have since threatened to boycott Monday election except the party reversed itself on the adoption of indirect primary.
Speaking shortly after the inauguration of his team by the Yobe state governor and chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mala Buni, the Kogi state governor said the adoption of the indirect mode of the primary was settled as it was adopted by the immediate past national working committee of the party led by its erstwhile chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the Ondo State chapter of the APC. He further claimed that a higher statutory organ of the party, the National Executive Committee ratified it.
He said: “On the issue of the mode of primary, this has been settled by the previous National Working Committee and ratified by National Executive Committee, which gives the opportunity to the State Executive Committee to chose the mode of primary that they would want.
“This has been settled. The Ondo Primary election would be conducted via indirect mode. This was the option chosen by the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC and ratified by the National Executive Committee of our great party in the last meeting. So, we are going for an indirect primary.”
Asked if he was aware of the gang up against the incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu by the other eleven aspirants, Governor Bello told newsmen that his colleague from Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello was already in Akure, Ondo state capital in a troubleshooting mission to pacify the aggrieved aspirants.
“The Executive Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello is in Ondo right now, meditating, and to ensure that there is peaceful coexistence and agreement on this mode of primary among the aspirants.
“But let me put it this way, from what I know about party politics especially in APC, I was once a contestant and I had opponents and from what I have come to realise, it is not within the purview of contestants to chose rules of engagement. We follow laid down rules and regulations of the party. As a member, we should abide by the rules and regulations, our party Constitution, the guidelines for the elections, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Electoral Act and every other rule that guides elections.
So, it is like going into the general elections now and then APC will be dictating to INEC that this is the rule we want. I do not think it sounds very nice but I know at the end of the day that every contestant in this election shall be treated fairly and credibly and we shall have a candidate that is going to be acceptable to all the contestants and the people of Ondo State and we shall come out victorious in the general elections.”
Earlier in his remarks, while inaugurating the Committee, Governor Buni spoke in a similar vein as he advised aspirants to respect the rules and guidelines of the party on the mode of party primaries.
He also appealed to Governor Bello-led team to discharge its assignment conscientiously and diligently.
“I am convinced that these reliable ladies and gentlemen will be fair, transparent, impartial and upright to do justice to all the aspirants in the course of their assignments.
“As a party with great respect for internal democracy, we must appreciate and honour the popular choice for us to have a marketable candidate to be presented to the electorates during the election. There is no doubt; we are committed to renewing the mandate from the good people of Ondo State.
“I wish to caution our aspirants to respect the rules governing the party primary.
“The party is once again assuring you that it will remain fair and just to all and, as loyal party members, we expect you to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith.
“You should have control over your supporters against any act that is detrimental to the success of the exercise and, of the breach to peace.
“We should strive to build and maintain a united front to once again win the confidence of the people of Ondo State through a transparent process.”
The Caretaker Committee equally inaugurated the appeal Panel team which has Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe and Architect Abdulmimuni Okara, as chairman and secretary, respectively
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