By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The All Progressive Congress (APC) has said the party will adopt indirect primary method to elect the governorship candidate of the party in the July 20th primary election of the party.
The chairman of the APC primary election committee for Ondo State, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, disclosed this to journalists yesterday after about one hour thirty minutes meeting of the committee with the chairman of the caretaker Committee of APC, Mai Mala Buni, at the party’s Secretariat.
This however comes against the threat by the eleven governorship contestants for the ticket of the party, to boycott the exercise if indirect is adopted.
It is only the incumbent Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who had before now expressed preference for the indirect primary method, as the remaining eleven aspirants cautioned the party to go through direct primary.
Speaking to journalists, Bello said “On the issue of the mode of primary, this has been settled by the previous National Working Committee (NWC) and ratified by National Executive Council (NEC), 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 and ratified by the National Executive Committee of our great party in the last meeting. So, we are going for indirect primary.”
He said the responsibility before him now is to go and conduct free, fair and credible primary election for whoever is going to be the candidate of APC, promising to restrict himself to that only.
Bello, who vowed to be guided by the Constitution of the party, the guidelines and all the laws that support the primary election, said if free, fair and credible primary is conducted, every member of the party; those who contested and those who are not contesting, including members and sympathisers of the party would support it to victory.
“I am very confident that we are going to win the general election by the grace of God. The task ahead of us is to go and conduct free and fair primary that every aspirant will be happy with and then join hands together for us to be victorious at the end of the day.
“The Executive Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, is in Ondo right now, mediating, 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 nicely 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”, he said.
Meanwhile, while inaugurating the Ondo primary election committee, the chairman of APC caretaker committee, Mai Mala Buni, who is also the Governor of Yobe state, recalled the promise of the caretaker committee at inception to rescue, recover and rebuild the party based on a new confidence of trust, fairness and equal opportunity to all.
He said since then, the interim committee has painstakingly taken some deliberate measures of true reconciliation and consultations to foster unity and strengthen the party, adding that he is proud to state that these measures are now yielding fruitful results and, they are committed to build on the achievements.
“The party is also carefully avoiding issues with the tendency of creating disaffection, animosity and division to reignite fresh crisis within its fold. Therefore, as we start preparations for the Ondo State Governorship Election, the party has appointed reputable, credible and dependable Chairmen and Members for the Primary Election and Appeal Committees which we are about to inaugurate now.
“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.”
He cautioned all the aspirants to respect the rules governing the party primary, assuring them that the party will remain fair and just to all and, as loyal party members, they are expected to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith.
He also urged the aspirants to have control over their supporters against any act that is detrimental to the success of the exercise and, of breach to peace, adding that the primary election committee 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.