‘Avoid Zamfara/Rivers’ calamity, adopt direct primary for Kogi guber election’
In a bid to ensure that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) does not lose the November 16 gubernatorial poll, where two groups, the APC Justice Forum and Buhari Support Group, have enjoined the party to adopt an inclusive system of selecting the standardbearer.
They warned the national leadership of the party against repeating the mistakes that cost it participation in Rivers and Zamfara States during the recent general elections.
According to the political action groups, APC should adopt direct primary to ensure that all stakeholders participate in electing the candidate of the party.
Chairman of APC Justice Forum, Dr. Yakubu Ugwolawo, who spoke to newsmen at the group’s Abuja, said the party should not make similar mistakes that cost it Bauchi and Adamawa States where it lost to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by fielding an unpopular candidate through indirect primary.
Ugwolawo, who is also a member of Buhari Support Group, was one of the benefactors of Governor Yahaya Bello at the outset of his government, said if the party adopts indirect primary it also runs the risk of what happened in Rivers and Bayelsa States where litigations cropped up after the primary.He said: “Apart from the involvement of every individual member of the party to really participate in the selection of the party’s flag bearer, direct primary gives members of the party opportunity to be part of the selection process among the plethora of aspirants to represent them as the candidate of the party.
Since the death of Abubakar Audu on November 22, 2016 and the eventual emergence of the present government since January 27, 2016, the party has been militarised. In fact, stakeholders of the party have been so marginalised in terms of participation in election.” He remarked that Bello has been running from pillar to post trying to reconcile the people he drove away from the party.
According to him, indirect primary could not fly because the governor single-handedly picked the party executive.“So, if we do not have direct primary then it means you have handed everything to one single individual,” he added.He drew the attention of the national secretariat of the party to a case in court in relation to the composition of the existing executive. Ugwolawo said if indirect primary is adopted, those who will midwife the election are the party’s executives at the state. However, he said if it were direct primary the midwifing of the primary election would be that of the national secretariat.
According to him, “The integrity of the national secretariat is not in doubt so for sure it would not go the way of Rivers and Zamfara. Let us go to the people who are on ground who would not have the fear that the election is manipulated. There would be no issue of litigation, so courts would not interfere in the process. That is why we are seeking for direct primary.
“The issue of asking the party to adopt direct primary is like guiding the party against the backlash in Bauchi and Adamawa where indirect primary was adopted against the wishes of party members. It caused the party the loss of two states to opposition PDP.He said if the party picked a candidate who is not popular, it means the party would be at the receiving end, as it would lose the election.
“This time around, APC as a party would not condone losing Kogi State,” he said. “If you look at what is happening now, of the 36 States, APC has 18 while the PDP has 17 States. So, if the party loses Kogi to PDP, it would be 18 APC and 18 PDP and, of course, I am not sure we would make it in Bayelsa, and if we lose Bayelsa that means in 2023, for APC to retain the presidency would be a pipe dream.
“That is why we, the real believers of APC and the real participants since the inception of the party, are concerned. The people that are imposing indirect primary mode now were not with us. So today, some people who did not labour with us to bring about the party want the party to be slaughtered in Kogi State.“The loss of Bauchi and Adamawa States is still with us. Again, the issue of Rivers and Zamfara States is another ball game entirely which tremendously affected the fortunes of APC.”
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