Mode of Primaries: APC Crisis Deepens With 13m members, PDP has lost
The crisis over the mode of electing candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in next year’s general elections is far from resolved as chairmen of state chapters of the party and the FCT met in Abuja on Sunday to disown the direct primaries ordered by the National Working Committee of the party.
After the meeting of the chairmen, they refused to address the press but a source at the meeting disclosed that a vote of no confidence was passed on the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who they believed was pushing the agenda for direct primaries.
This is coming on the heels of claims by the party that with a membership base of 13 million alongside a large section of non-partisan potential voters, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is poised to lose the presidency in 2019.
Indications of the disagreement that is threatening to tear the party apart emerged weekend when some stalwarts of the party had opposed the adoption of direct primaries to pick candidates for states.
However, there was no argument in the adoption of direct primaries for the presidency, a move an insider told our correspondent frees President Muhammadu Buhari from the grips of governors.
Before the Sunday meeting of state chairmen and the FCT on Sunday at Barcelona Hotel, a few meters from the APC National Secretariat, the APC National Vice Chairman, North-East, Mustapha Salihu, had accused some leaders of the party from the South-West of plotting to foist regional imperialism on the party.
“Before now, I didn’t have any feelings that there was possibility of conspiracy, but when I see people planting stories, I now began to suspect. If one region feels that (direct primary) was best for them, I think they can canvass that at the regional level and give us reason they need that.
“I want to believe that in a democracy, the majority have their way and the minority have their say. So, they have the right to wish and if we decide to make it flexible, definitely what they want will be given to them in their own various states.
“But one thing I want to assure is that we will not succumb to regional imperialism so long as we are acting within the constitution,” Salihu warned.
Ahead of the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, condemned the attempt, describing the meeting as not only ‘illegal’ but negates the position already taken by the party on the mode of primaries.
"The attention of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to an illegal meeting scheduled to hold on Sunday at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja by some members of our party organs, with a view to fault the decisions made by the NWC followed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) as regards the mode of the party's primary elections.
"We want to state clearly that the meeting which has been fixed for 2pm is illegal and an attempt to puncture the sincere efforts being made by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC to reposition our party ahead the 2019 general elections and to ensure unity, equity and justice in the party.
"The outcome of such meeting which is already known will be a nullity and we admonish our members to disregard such meetings in the interest of the party. It is illegal to call such meetings outside the purview of the constituted authority", he stated.
He assured that those behind such move will be unmasked and their plots to disrupt the current peace in the party will be resisted.
"The identities of those plotting such meetings have been identified and unless they desist from such they will be dealt with in line with the Party's Constitution at the appropriate time.
"The NWC will resist any attempt to disrupt the current peace and harmony prevailing in our great party after the exit of some members of our party.
"We urge any member who is not satisfied with the decisions of the party to utillize channels provided by the party's constitution to air their views.
"We remain focused in delivering good governance to Nigerians and above all ensuring the victory for our Party come 2019 and we will not be intimidated by the antics of a few in ensuring success for our Party", Nabena maintained.
In another development, Nabena, said on Sunday that the APC was amused by the interest the PDP had in the mode of election the APC chose to adopt for the primaries to elect party candidates for the 2019 elections.
“We quite understand that the revolutionary and progressive idea of direct primaries to elect party candidates is strange to the PDP - a party known for its inability to ensure internal party democracy and actively promotes imposition of candidates against the will of its members.
“Direct primaries among others ensure fairness; create a level playing ground for contestants; eliminate corrupt tendencies usually associated with the delegates system and ultimately ensure full and direct participation of party members at all levels in the election of party candidates.
“The APC is a progressive party and will continue to implement the change agenda promised to Nigerians. We urge Nigerians to continue their support as the president continues to rebuild and reposition the country,” he said.