“On the issue of the mode of election, we all agreed too that for the presidential election, we are adopting a direct primaries…”
• To pick other candidates through indirect primaries
• Govs reject N21m nomination form fee
Romanus Ugwu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Ahead of its primaries, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors and other stakeholders resolved at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, yesterday, to adopt both the direct and indirect options to select candidates for the 2019 general election.
READ ALSO: 2019: Direct primaries tear APC NWC apart
At the meeting, which lasted several hours, members of the party voted to pick the president with the direct option while governors and candidates for other offices would emerge through the indirect system. The move to use the direct option, which was earlier canvassed at the National Causes meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari had sparked negative reaction from a section of the party stakeholder including governors and a faction of the National Working Committee (NWC).
But in a move aimed at dousing tension, NEC voted to use the two systems side-by-side. Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, confirmed this to journalists after the meeting in Abuja.
“The constitution of the party provides for either direct or indirect or consensus but for the presidential election primaries, we will adopt direct. There was a recommendation by a committee that the states should adopt the indirect mode of election, which could vary in some states.
“On the issue of the mode of election, we all agreed too that for the presidential election, we are adopting a direct primaries. For other elections, there are two options. However, the general option is that we go for indirect, but any state they have problem and would want to deviate from it is at liberty to write, following the normal process with the resolution from their state executives to the national executive for a deviation from the process,” he said.
The party members also opposed plan to sell the Expression of Interest and nomination form to governorship aspirants for N21 million.
A source inside the meeting, had told Daily Sun that some members of NEC canvassing the amount claimed that it was meant to restrict every Tom and Harry from picking the nomination form. Responding to speculations that the N21 million fee almost tore the stakeholders apart during the NEC meeting, Lalong said: “The issue of the fees for nomination forms was actually discussed and debated but we left it for the NWC to resolve taking into consideration some of the views canvassed.
“We told the NWC to come up with a reasonable figure and any amount they agreed will be accepted without referring to NEC for rectification.”
Lalong said though there would not be automatic ticket for governors and lawmakers, the party would, nevertheless, reward loyal members.
Confirming the position on automatic ticket, Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello said: “They will be rewarded in one way or the other but we don’t refer to it as automatic because of internal democracy and we are going to follow every intent and letters of that constitution that guarantee internal democracy.”
Lalong revealed other issues discussed: “The NEC meeting discussed two or three items. The first was the document in respect to the guidelines to the elections, the mode of elections, the funding and the need for unity within the party after the scale of defections.”
He said the issue of sequence of election was referred to the NWC after deliberations to look at the suggestions raised and take decision in line with the Electoral Act to bring out the sequence of elections.
Meanwhile, there was mild drama during the meeting as a governor from the north, vehemently protested the presence of the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, at the NEC when he is not a member.
Tinubu had driven straight to the secretariat around 10:56am and headed for the office of the national chairman but the governor protested thinking that he wanted to be part of the meeting.
The meeting which had in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other party chieftains including Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, Secretary to the Government the Federation, Boss Mustapha, governors, new party members like Godswill Akpabio, was informed that the Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and his deputy Yusuff Lasun, sent in their apologies due to engagement and medical appointments outside the country respectively.
Buhari stressed that any political party worth it’s salt must get its internal democracy rights.
He assured that his administration would continue to secure the country, fight corruption and position the economy in a way that jobs can be provided for the youths and give them future and hope.