Presidency, Oshiomhole, Governors In Crucial Meeting Ahead Of Convention
Ahead of the Saturday's Convention, the Presidency, leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governors elected on the party's platform were yesterday locked in a tensed meeting to address disturbing issues arising from the various primaries, THE INQUIRER has learnt.
It may be recalled that the primaries for some states like Zamfara, Imo, Adamawa, Enugu, Ogun, Zamfara, Bauchi, Edo, Abia states where there were serious contentions were either shifted, rescheduled or outrightly cancelled.
THE INQUIRER reports that all political parties are expected to submit the names of their candidates vying for various elective positions to the Independent National Electoral Commission by Sunday night.
But speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting which lasted for about 3 hours behind closed doors, the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who likened the gathering to "a political clinic", stated that the meeting was to find lasting solutions to aspects that have naughty issues to address.
He said: "We met with various leaders, whoever has challenges. This is like the political clinic. We are in a situation room and it is normal that when you are carrying it a Democratic exercise across the 36 states and the FCT, you are bound to have some challenges.
“First, for the FCT, I think there are some elements who believe that they can hijack the process and impose their personal preferences. We are trying to clean up our party internal democracy and eliminate corruption as much as we can from the process and empower our party members to have a say and a decisive voice on who represent him or who fly the flag of the party. FCT is the capital of Nigeria. If we cannot do a transparent election in FCT, then for me, it will be a sad day.
"We are trying to encourage democracy and if they don’t want democracy, they will have to look for ways of living outside the democratic space. The APC is determined to enforce all the rules of democracy in the FCT. The day was wasted because instead of going to vote they choice to go to APC office, sponsored b6 people who want to manipulate the process. I have told those who care to listen that my only purpose as Chairman of the APC is to deepen those core values of democracy namely popular participation and giving everyone a sense of ownership of s happening in the party. FCT will have to do direct primary. I have told the committee to go back, call the stakeholders and by tomorrow morning, they will have to conduct free, fair and transparent direct primary in the FCT. This is not negotiable. Those aspirants who are looking for short court should know that there is no shortcut to the democratic process. If you cannot withstand the rigour of Communication, persuading and earning the trust and respect of the ordinary member of the APC in the FCT, maybe APC should not be your party because we are committed to popular participation.
The National Chairman who also spoke on the Zamfara botched election, noted that the reports available to them suggested that the process was “botched, materials were snatched and results taken to unauthorized places. The panel we sent there has come to explain in unison what transpired.
"It is unfortunate that many people choose to opt for violence. But I am happy that the panel refused to compromise and stood their ground even in the face of intimidation.
“We are going to conduct free, fair primary in Zamfara. This process has to be done according to the rules and regulations of the APC and that means it will be done by the Electoral body and not by the state government or agents of the state government.
“Every member of the party in Zamfara State has a right and that right must be respected by the NWC to vote for any aspirant of their own choice. No amount of blackmail will make us abandon that. That is the right thing to do. My mandate as Chairman of the APC is to be faithful to our constitution. I swore an oath of office to be just to every member of the APC. For me, this oath of office is meant to be obeyed. We are going to set up a new committee that will conduct the election in Zamfara. Any election that is not conducted in accordance with the guideline will not be accepted. When we say direct primary, we mean direct primary."
The Chairman of the APC Governors Forum, Alhaji Abubakar Yari who first spoke with journalists said what informed the meeting was the need to see the national Chairman of the party on number of issues as it bothers on matters arising from the primaries conducted in some states and also to resolve so that they can come out stronger as one family so that they can secure 2019 general election.
"We discussed so many things. As you can see some colleagues and others are having one issue or others raging from the senators, house of Rep and state houses of assembly which we discuss as a family. We look at it in terms of how we can be able to boost the morale of all of us down there even to our end. And other issues that are related. And in resolving that, there is no any other person apart from the chairman or the national working committee. So, we sat down and we discuss and steps are going to be taking so that we can be able to understand the way forward. The chairman said they are going to have a NWC meeting and at the same time we are concern, if we are not having candidates anywhere by the 7th of October, that automatically means we are not fielding candidates for the positions.
"It means, if we don’t do primaries before on the 7th, then we might not have field any candidate for the general elections in 2019 which time is our number one enemy. We are working hard and faster to ensure that we get this things done so that we can start coming for the convention on Saturday.
"For instance, I am saying that apart from the governorship election we had yesterday, which was a little beat a tuzzle even though the outcome is yet to be announced. But, we have not done the senate, Reps, and state of houses of assembly which all of these must be concluded today or tomorrow so we can come for the national convention on Saturday. And on Sunday, by 12am on Monday, that is the last day of any primary to be conducted in the party in Nigeria. Anyone that did after that is null and void and it is against the Act of the National Assembly.
There are lots of governors and even some of their representatives present for the meeting
Raising concerns on necessity of time necessary to get issues properly addressed, Kebbi State governor, Alh Atiku Bagudu said: "The chairman said they are going to have a NWC meeting and at the sametime we are concerned, if we are not having candidates anywhere by on the 7th of October, that automatically means we are not fielding candidates for the positions. It means if we don’t do primaries before on the 7th then we might not have field any candidate for the general elections in 2019 which Time is our number one enemy. We are working hard and faster to ensure that we got this thing done so that we can be able to come for the convention on Saturday."
Chairman progressive governor, Owelle Rochas Okoroacha was however hopeful that all contending issues will be resolved in time for the general election.
He said: "We will be able to sought out our own crisis as quickly as possible before the main election. But, what is important is that, despite our individual differences we still believe in the man of president Muhammadu Buhari, it is a fact that anytime anyone is angry we are able to resolve our issues before time. And that is why we believe we will remain together and president Buhari emerges the president the second time.
Oshiomhole who also clears the air on the rumour cancellation of the Edo state primary election stating that the inability of the panel to get to Benin on time and due to logistics reasons ocasión the need for cancelation.
" The people we send to conduct the primary election had issues and that practically ocassion the cancelation .It will be done properly tomorrow(today). And again for logistics reasons, members of the panel couldn't get to Benin on time. And I am sure first thing in the morning they will be there to conduct the primary according to the spirit and letters of our constitution and the election guidelines", he noted.
Meanwhile the National Chairman of the Party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who received the Governor Elect of Osun State who was issued his certificate of return by INEC commended Mr Gboyega Oyetola for his victory and urged him to see everyone in the state as his own irrespective of the party affiliation.
"The contestants have relative balance but I think the last alliance we made was based on issues on how they can work together, draw from issues, as represented by the SDP in Osun state. Your task now is to accept the fact that once election has been announced, you are going to be governor of everybody in Osun State, whether it is PDP, APC, AD, in fact there are quite a number of political parties about 92. Once you assumed office, you assumed your traditional followership and moved beyond your conventional comfort zone to extend your goodwill to the people. You must use your good office to deliver the maximum good to the largest number of good persons in the shortest possible time regardless of their political affiliation, work or where you belong.
Responding, the Governor Mr Gboyega Oyetola in his remarks thanked President Buhari, the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led NWC and members, and all other members of the party most especially the governor of Kano who chaired the election committee.
His words: ‘’ I want to thank Mr President for his support for coming to campaign during the election. He gave me massive support and I thank him. I thank the National Chairman, who left his base in Abuja for Osun shuttling between the two states. I say thank you very much but again I thank you for the fact that I happened to be the first product of the Direct Primary which has helped me and everybody now copy.
‘’I thank the leadership of the party starting from the Governor of Kano state, the chairman of the election committee. And all the other relevant members. I thank all the governors because all of them were there to ensure victory for the party and I am sure at the end of the day the best won the election which is my party APC. I have said before now that I am going to build on the legacy left behind by my predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola particularly talking about infrastructure and the economy. I am going to be running an all-inclusive administration by the guiding values of accountability and transparency’’, he stated.