Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
A governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ogun State, Jimi Lawal, has cautioned the leadership of the party in the state against insisting on zoning the governorship slot to Ogun West senatorial district.
He advised that the party should allow merit to determine the its candidate by creating a level-playing field for all the aspirants.
Lawal, who argued that zoning was not in the APC constitution and advocated for direct primaries in electing the party candidates for the 2019 polls, equally warned that the party would lose in Ogun State, if its leadership insists on zoning.
He gave the warning, on Saturday, while speaking to newsmen shortly after he met with the state executive members of the party at the state’s Secretariat of the APC, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to Lawal, fielding a governorship candidate from Ogun East by the APC remained the best option for the party, insisting that Ogun West lacked the unity and political strength to retain the governorship seat in 2019.
He, however, maintained that instead of the delegate system, direct primary system should be used by the party to choose its candidates, noting the system is the best system and most transparent of the three enshrined in the party’s constitution.
He said, “Direct primaries are the most democratic. Direct primaries means the owners of the party, the members, are the ones that will decide.
“When you do consensus, it’s not really democratic; it’s the worst form of democracy. When you do delegates, it’s halfway.
“So, the best for democracy is direct primaries. But there is another issue that we need to keep in mind. I think without questioning the judgement of our leaders, those who said the party had zoned to Ogun West, we have to be very careful.
“If APC wants to lose Ogun State governorship, they should insist on Ogun West. But if they don’t want to lose, they would allow level playing field to hold.
“Let me tell you why I said so. Ogun West has only five LGAs. Not only five LGAs, they are already divided because ADC is fielding GNI.
“So, the five local governments would have to be divided if APC also goes there. If PDP should take Ogun East, PDP would win. It’s a no-brainer.
“So, I don’t see how we are going to shoot ourselves in the foot. And besides that, look at Ogun East at the moment. Ogun East is about 40 percent of the electorate and yet, PDP is in control of Ogun East.
“The senator for Ogun East is from PDP, two out of the House of Representatives are from PDP. Nine of the entire House of Assembly are from Ogun East.
“Do we want to take the next governorship of Ogun State as APC? I believe we do. So, we’ll do the right thing. May God guide us aright.
“Ogun East will speak with one voice. Even those who are in PDP had already spoken to me but like I said, I’m one of the founders of APC – merger committee member.
“So, I’m not going anywhere. But this is not to say it should be zoned. I don’t believe in zoning. Let’s allow merit to emerge. It’s not only me that said zoning is not in the party constitution. Osoba said it.
“Go and check the records. The national headquarters would also say so. We are all entitled to pick up forms and do the primaries. May the best person emerge for Ogun State. That’s our prayers,” Lawal said.