Dissenting views by stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State weekend greeted the direct primaries adopted in the coming gubernatorial election in the state.
While Edo APC adopted the indirect mode of primaries, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party insisted on direct primaries. Indirect mode means that delegates alone elect the party’s flag-bearer, while in direct mode, all registered party members do the election.
However, Edo APC chairman, Anslem Ojezua, during a meeting with stakeholders, said the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was one of the reasons for the decision to use indirect mode, adding that having 300,000 individuals risking their lives in this period for the sake of primaries was unethical.He said the rebuilt Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium would host the statutory delegates.
According to him, Edo APC lacks a credible register of members, which makes the direct primaries unworkable. The indirect primaries will host about 3,500 delegates next month, according to the chairman.
Corroborating the position of the chairman, Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Political Matters, Chief Osaro Idah, opposed direct governorship primary election in the state.
Members of Edo APC will not allow the direct governorship primary election announced by members of the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC, he asserted. Idah said forcing direct primary on Edo APC members would be against the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party and the last meeting in 2018, which had not been reviewed, adding that it would not be proper to have a huge crowd at this crucial period of COVID-19.
Insisting that indirect primary must be used to pick the APC governorship candidate on June 22, for the crucial poll on September 19 this year, Idah argued, “It is not possible for the members of NWC to make such declaration (on direct primary), because it is not within their rights.
“The constitution of APC is very clear on who has the right to do so. The party at the state level has the right to determine the mode of primary election it prefers, which is subject to the last meeting (in 2018) of the NEC of APC in Abuja, where the instruction was approved. Since then, NEC has said nothing. So, nothing has changed,” he said.
Ed APC on Friday wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the plan by Governor Godwin Obaseki to scuttle the party’s primaries with inflated cases of COVID-19.