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States to choose mode of primary for guber poll, Ojezua declares

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Edo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Anselem Ojezua yesterday declared that the State Executive Councils (SEC) has should determine the mode of primaries in choosing their governorship candidates.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ojezua gave the clarification in an interview in Benin City amid the raging tussle between the two factions of the APC in Edo.

Ojezua said it was up to various state chapters of the party to decide which option best suited them, based on peculiarities in their states, stressing that the party’s constitution, however, recognises both the direct and indirect mode of primaries.

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He explained that it was based on this that the National Working Committee (NWC) released a timetable that made SEC meet with critical stakeholders to adopt indirect primaries, based on peculiarities in Edo.

He noted that this was so because of the measures, protocols and rules put in place by the federal and state governments, regarding crowding, social distancing and other measures to contain COVID-19.

“The need to protect the health and safety of our members as well as those who would be exposed as they travel back and forth the 192 wards and later converging in the state capital would make all the gains and restraints in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 a wasted effort if direct primaries were adopted.

“So we felt it would be better to go to one location that is large enough to accommodate the total number of delegates while preserving the requirements for social distancing.

“The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium was suggested because it has a sitting capacity of 15,000, whereas the total number of delegates is not more than 3,600. So social distancing and transparency are assured,” he stated.

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Ojezua recalled that the last governorship primaries was held at the same venue, using the same indirect method., asking, “Why change it now? The event was peaceful and transparent at that time. There was no issue. Now, there is hostility and suspicion.’’

He said what was important was that the decision on what form of primary to adopt was best for the states to make and that what the SEC in Edo had done was in compliance with that decision.

The APC chief expressed hope for Governor Godwin Obaseki’s chances of clinching the party’s ticket in the June 22 primaries, adding that the governor had performed well to get a second term in office.

“Obaseki has brought civility, decency and development to the state in his administration. In 2016, we had 14 aspirants and 11 took forms and he defeated them. The result of this one won’t be different,” he added.

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