…says it’s devilish
Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in the September 22 election in Osun State, Lasun Yusuff, has condemned the adoption of direct primary election by the National Working Committee of the party to pick the candidate for the poll billed for September 22.
The primary election would hold on Thursday, September 19, and would be conducted by officials of the national body of the party.
Yusuff, who is the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, described the adoption of the system as ‘unpopular, devilish and an orchestrated attempt to thwart the will of the majority of the members of the party in the state’.
This was said in a press statement issued by his media centre, in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
According to the statement, “Such a call was capable of causing disenchantment in the party in view of the fact that virtually all the major blocs and stakeholders within the party had registered their resentment to the proposal.”
“We are aware of the depth of pressure daily mounted on the party national leadership by some officials of the Osun State Government in cahoots with just four State Working Committee members of the APC in an effort to impose their preferred candidate on the party,” the statement said.
“The party’s national working committee members, whose duty it is to set guidelines for the conduct of the party primaries, are daily harassed with a demand to adopt the direct system, where all card-holding members of the party would have the privilege of electing whom the party flag bearer would be in the coming governorship election scheduled for 22 September.
“Whereas this method appears participatory and welcoming because it would afford all shades of members of the party the opportunity to express their choice of candidate through the ballot, we reject this proposal because it is not altruistic.
“Much more, it is susceptible to manipulation and also have proclivities to expose members with dissenting voices to physical attack by street urchins on the behest of the purveyors of the proposal.”
The statement also claimed that the proposal was an after-thought, following the earlier rejection by the party’s National Working Committee due to allegation of a doctored delegate list by a group loyal to a governorship aspirant, Gboyega Oyetola, the acclaimed anointed candidate by Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The statement further alleged that a prominent commissioner in the state had masterminded printing of new membership cards to be distributed to only members with a view to making Oyetola the next governor.
”Why should a section of the party be peddling anachronistic idea that has been vehemently rejected by all party members with good conscience?
“Why should only the state party chairman, alongside his secretary and two other SWC members the only ones conveying this idea?
“Why should they feel opinions of other SWC members and 25 local government party chairmen are not worth some consideration?Why should a minority group in the party believe their views should always be sacrosanct?
“It is instructive to note that since 2015 when our party formed a government at the federal level, delegate system has always been the model for the party gubernatorial primaries.
“In Kogi in 2015, Ondo in 2016, Anambra and Edo in 2016; and Ekiti in just a couple of weeks ago, the party adopted the collegiate(delegate) system.
“This agitation for direct system is by all shreds, suspicious, considering the fact that the same direct method was out rightly rejected by this same group earlier in the year when the party was to conduct its primaries for the local government polls. So, why the 360 degree detour at the moment?”
“Of course, the motive is to allow a room for perfidy in a desperate drive to shore up the irredeemably impugned image of their stooge, and enliven the comatose gubernatorial aspiration of a man the mass of delegates have rejected.”
The statement went read, ”Let’s assume that without conceding that direct primary method is more democratic because more members would vote, can we say, in all honesty, that the party has a water-tight database in place that could fish out the unscrupulousness that has been perpetrated on the membership register in the state in recent time?
“Won’t this process pose some logistical challenges to the party, given the fact that electoral materials have to be provided for approximately 300,000 registered members? Does the party have capacity to mobilise security personnel and party monitors to man all the 332 wards in the state?
“Is this method an ideal one for a contest that would involve 17 aspirants?”
However, the statement expressed the reaffirmation of Yusuff’s deep commitment to the rule of law and ethos of the party.
The statement enjoined the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, “To be fair to all contestants and be wary of any machination to set the party backward through a plan that has been programmed to foist an unpopular candidate on the party.”