The last National Executive Committee meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) gave state chapters the right to determine how their candidates for the 2019 elections would emerge, according to a document seen by Daily Trust.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong had told journalists after the NEC meeting that the party’s presidential candidate would emerge through direct primary while states will determine how governorship, national and state assembly candidates would emerge in their areas.
But the APC Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, who addressed journalists two days after the NEC, said the meeting actually endorsed direct primaries across board.
Nabena said direct primaries would among others ensure fairness, create a level playing ground, eliminate corrupt tendencies usually associated with the delegates system and guarantee full participation of party members at all levels.
However, according to the resolution of the NEC, after its 6th regular meeting, it resolved that: The Presidential Election shall be conducted on the basis of “Direct Primary” after which the winner would be ratified at a National Convention.
“That for the purpose of the other elections, the NEC while noting the applicability of each of the options, recognized that, there could be huge logistic challenges, local peculiarities and other operational challenges in each of the states which would make direct primaries not feasible.
“In such cases, the State Executive Committee and the Critical Stakeholders in a given state shall meet and by a resolutions signed by a majority of the State Executive Committee convey the National Working Committee the request for the Indirect Primaries upon which the NWC shall meet and approve same.”
Daily Trust reports that the NEC resolution, dated September 4, 2018, signed by the National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the National Secretary, Maimala Buni, was sent to the party’s chairmen in the 36 states and the FCT.
There had been debate over the adoption of direct or indirect primaries by states in the election of party candidates.
The situation had caused serious rift in many states, especially where state governors had opted for indirect primaries or consensus, with some party members that were edged out during congresses of the party in July, this year, calling for direct primaries.
Credible sources at the national headquarters of the APC and in some states confirmed the dispatch and receipt of the letter mandating local chapters to go for the option they wanted.
Oshiomhole’s letter was a departure from a statement of clarification issued by the party’s acting national publicity secretary last week Saturday, saying the NEC meeting, held on August 30, 2018 in Abuja, had adopted use of direct primary in the selection of APC’s candidate for all positions including governorship, national and state assembly seats.
Although Oshiomhole didn’t speak after that statement, it was believed that he was in agreement with the clarification before it was made public by the party’s spokesman.
The letter vested on state executive committees across the 36 states and the FCT, the powers to determine a method of primaries for their respective states through signed requests by a majority of them after holding a meeting of what the party called “critical stakeholders”.
The APC in Zamfara, Yobe, Plateau, Borno, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Taraba, Katsina, Adamawa and Kaduna states among others adopted indirect elections for the party’s primaries to select candidates for the 2019 general elections.
However, Kano, Niger, Lagos and Abia opted for direct primaries, while Kebbi and Ebonyi chose to go for consensus.
The Kaduna State chapter of the APC said it detested direct primaries because, “Experience of direct primaries from the recently concluded primary elections for councillorship in state where the party adopted direct primaries to select its candidates was marred by significant disruption and controversy and over stretched the security agencies. Using this mode for the upcoming primary elections would definitely not produce the desired results and its credibility may be called to question.”
The Borno and Yobe states chapters of the party, on the hand, cited security and huge resources needed for the exercise as reasons they wanted indirect or delegate system.