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Group tasks Tinubu on credible direct primaries


National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Following the decision of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, to adopt direct primary where members of the party would determine their candidate instead of the usual affirmation of anointed individuals, the United Action for Change (UAC) has appraised the development. Tinubu, while addressing a Lagos APC stakeholders meeting at the party secretariat on Tuesday said it would adopt direct primaries based on party register where registered members would be entitled to vote.

The national leader also said the era of delegates to determine party’s primaries has gone.In a statement yesterday, national coordinator of UAC, Niyi Akinsiju, commended him for turning a new leaf but was quick to add that it was only upon the fulfillment of some conditions that a credible primary can be said to have taken place, otherwise it would constitute a shameful sham.

Listing the conditions, Akinsiju said: “As prerequisites to the conduct of direct primaries, the following, amongst others, must be observed, which are credible and updated membership register that must be displayed ahead of the primaries just as all aspirants must agree on the integrity of the register before its use, the venues for the primaries must be publicised and known to all as well as officials that would conduct and manage the process must be neutral, independent and acceptable to all aspirants.” 

Other conditions include logistic support sufficient to cater for the exercise; watertight security in areas of volatility; the need for the electoral commission to be given sufficient notice to ensure effective monitoring of the entire process and recording of results and announcements as part of their supervisory role. He also said the media must complement the process to guarantee its credibility while there must be an appeal process, populated by credible personalities acceptable to all aspirants and proper identification cards of members must be issued.

UAC has been at the forefront of agitation for the adoption of transparent party primaries for the nomination of candidates of all political parties. While, to a large extent, other parties have substantially been complying with this democratic best practice, it has not been the culture of APC leadership in Lagos State to allow unfettered primary election to be held in choosing it’s candidates. 

The group promised to continue to monitor the process and raise the red flag whenever it deemed necessary. Meanwhile, Mr. Foud Oki, a factional state chairman of the party in Lagos, said politics was in trouble in the state, where one man talks and others fall in line.He said: “Normally, what happens in a federal party is that the National Working Committee (NWC) will meet and decide how primaries are going to be conducted nationwide and the party complies.

“Going by his pronouncement on Tuesday, Tinubu has turned himself to the national chairman and at the same time wanted to perform the duties of the president. Oki said he hopes the pronouncement of the national leader in Lagos would not be a repetition of what happened in the Osun State direct primaries episode where some aspirants were schemed out, saying: “He (Tinubu) won’t find it funny and I can assure that the Lagos chapter would pay dearly if they try what they did in Osun.”He wondered how a man could assume the powers of the National Executive Council (NEC) by announcing the primaries mode, adding: “We await the party guidelines before deciding on what next to do.”

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