Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The type of primaries to be adopted for the governorship primaries in Bayelsa State has divided the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the south-south state.
The party had adopted the Direct Primaries for picking its candidates for the 2019 National and House of Assembly election and it eventually won one Senatorial seat, two House of Representatives seats and four House of Assembly seats.
A stakeholders meeting held amidst a rowdy session at the party secretariat was attended by the leader of the party in the state, former governor Timipre Sylva, immediate past Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, members of the National Assembly including, Senator Degi Eremieyo(Bayelsa East Senatorial District) Hon Preye Oseke(Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency ) and Hon Israel Sunny Goli(Nembe/ Brass Federal Constituency)
Others at the meeting included Hon Warman Ogoriba, Prince Preye Aganaba , former deputy- governor, Werinipre Seibarugu, former speaker and acting governor Hon Nestor Binabo and the party chairman, Mr Jothan Amos.
Amos, while delivering his opening remarks, told party faithfuls in attendance that the stakeholder meeting was summoned to discuss the type of party primaries and suggested that it will be direct primaries to sustain the tempo of the party successes from the last National and State Assemblies election. However, some stakeholders objected, arguing that he was not moderating the meeting well.
Oseke, on his part, called on party members to remain calm as the decision on the type of primaries should not be allowed to divide the party.
“There is no need for us to quarrel over the issue of Direct or Indirect primaries. We have all agreed that we have a common goal, which is that the PDP government must go. As politicians, we can fight and disagree, but we know that we have a common goal. Now that we stand a better chance, we must put our house in order.”
Sylva, speaking on the need for party members to remain calm, explained that it is not only Bayelsa that will be having its governorship election this year, adding that there should be no need for rancour.
“This not the way of the APC, something has crept into it. APC is a family. I have said it times without numbers that whoever wants to aspire can aspire, and the party is to ensure that we win in November 16th election. We should not start insisting on procedures. I cannot attend a meeting of party family and be insisting. This is a family meeting and you cannot be insisting. Contact your people in Kogi State. Nobody called them from National to insist on procedure; it is a simple process and should not be rancorous meeting.”
In their separate reactions, two governorship aspirants, Lokpobiri and Aganaba, have however distanced themselves from any resolution reached,arguing that the meeting ended in stalemate because Amos failed to follow due process in summoning the stakeholders meeting to decide the the type of primaries to adopt for the party.
Lokpobiri, through the Director of Media and Publicity of his governorship campaign team, Hon. Perez Peretu, said the meeting ended in a stalemate and accused the state chairman of summoning a stakeholders meeting without the knowledge of some members of the party’s State Working Committee (SWC).
“Even if we disagree, we will eventually agree. Many of the SWC members, including the Deputy Chairman and the State Legal officer, kicked against the action of the State Chairman and accused him of not summoning a meeting of the state working committee to discuss and adopt the mode of primary before the stakeholders meeting.”
Aganaba, who spoke through the Director-General of his Governorship campaign, Hon. Nestor Binabo, said “though the meeting ended in a stalemate, whether direct or indirect primaries, we will carry the day because Bayelsa people wants us and we know.”