Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has assured that the party will follow Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) guidelines and ensure fairness and just to all in the forthcoming primaries.
He stated that the APC would comply with the INEC guidelines because the guidelines are derived from the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The party Chairman said this at the first national caucus meeting of the party after the executive was elected over two months ago and presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Tuesday night.
He further assured that the principles of internal democracy would also be followed in the party primaries.
Speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of the three hours meeting (8.30-11.30pm), Oshiomhole said the meeting discussed the forthcoming party primaries based on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 general elections as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in January.
According to the INEC timetable, as released issued by the INEC chairman, Yakubu Mahmoud, party primaries for the Presidential, Governorship, Federal and State Elections should hold from August 18th to October 7, 2018.
The Federal Capital Territory Area Council Elections would commence on September 4th to October 27th.
According to Oshiohmole, “The meeting just had a conversation around the forthcoming primaries. As you know, based on INEC timetable on primaries, this is the season from the President down to House of Assembly and the exercise must end on Oct. 7 according to INEC guidelines.
“We are obliged to comply with the guidelines because the guidelines are derived from the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“So, we basically discussed how to ensure full compliance with the INEC guidelines and also ensure that that we observe all the principles of internal democracy, participation, ensuring fairness and justice.”
On strategies in place to your sure the primaries go on without rancour, the party Chairman explained that by respecting the electoral act and the APC’s constitution in the conduct of the party’s activities, members will enjoy justice and fairness.
According to him, the resolutions at the APC Caucus meeting would be tabled at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party fixed for Thursday for deliberation and possible endorsement.
He said “By Thursday we will go to NEC where the formal decisions will be rectified and once they are rectified there will be no problem; they are not being kept because every member of the party and indeed Nigerian are entitled to know how we agreed about the exercise.
“But I think everybody has confidence that we will do a very credible primaries to ensure that those who fly the flag of the party have the mandate of their various constituencies.” he stated.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawal on his part said, the caucus was assured by members of the APC in National Assembly that they were united and stronger than ever.
He said “We have the understanding that this is a party affair even when we have issues at state chapters, we are suppose to resolve those issues and the national party leadership is working round the clock to resolve those issues.
“Our caucus in the National Assembly are more united than ever before, this is the most united and focused caucus since I went into the Senate. After the decampees, those of us remained are stronger as brothers and sisters and we are doing everything possible to ensure that the National Assembly reconvenes in good time to look into the serious issues that we have before us – INEC budget, approval for the foreign loan and appointment confirmation issues that are before the Senate. These are things we must do because our government must make progress, Nigerians are waiting and have been patient, we cannot take the patience of Nigerians for granted.”