Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries scheduled for this weekend has been shrouded in uncertainty as the national leadership of the party is yet to inaugurate primaries committee for the states.
Our correspondent further gathered that the situation has left many of the aspirants confused on whether the primaries will actually hold as scheduled.
To complicate matters, most of the state party chapter chairmen left the national secretariat of the party on Wednesday grumbling over the directive by the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, that they should source for fund and bankroll the primaries.
One of the state chairmen from the Southeast geopolitical zone, told Daily Sun in confidence that the action of the national leadership is condemnable, arguing that it is wrong to compel the state exco to shoulder the financial responsibilities of the primaries after collecting so much from the aspirants through the purchase of expression of interest and nomination forms.
“The reality on ground is that most states especially the ones without a sitting governor, are facing serious financial challenges. We all left the national secretariat on Wednesday disappointed when the national chairman told us to go and conduct the primaries with giving us any dime.
“It is wrong for the National Chairman to give us such directive without any financial assistance. The implication is that many of us would have to depend on the generosity of the aspirants to conduct the primaries,” a state chapter party Chairman lamented to Daily Sun.
An aspirant from the Cross River chapter of the party, who equally pleaded anonymity, told Daily Sun that they are now in limbo, stressing that as at Thursday evening, they are yet to get any reliable information from the national leadership.
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“There is confusion in every state. Whether it is deliberate, it is difficult to say. Our concern is that some of us will travel by road as long as five hours from the Calabar Airport to our Senatorial zones, yet as at Thursday evening, we don’t know whether the primaries is still going on this weekend or not. We are really in limbo,” the aspirant said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, has warned the national leadership of the party that the APC risks losing Oyo State governorship seat if it continues with the arrangement of conducting Indirect election in the state.
Flaying the decision of the national leadership to adopt indirect primaries in the selection of candidates, he alleged that the plan is geared towards excluding him.
The minister who also wondered why Oyo state was singled out for indirect primaries in the whole of the South-western states, added that it will only be fair for the party at the state to adopt the direct primaries as the issues surrounding the leadership of the state chapter of the APC was still being contested at the courts.
Speaking to newsmen at the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja, after meeting with the party leadership, he charged the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to rescind its decision in the spirit of fair play and interest of the party.
He said: “Barr. Shittu, the leading Governorship aspirant of APC in Oyo state rejects the recommendation of the NWC of the APC for Indirect Primary in the state for the following reasons
“Those to serve as delegates for the proposed Indirect Primary constitute the bulk of those handpicked for the ill-fated Congresses conducted in Oyo State where they were selected in a parallel congress. It should be recalled that the said congresses produced two sets of delegates of which only the supporters of Governor Ajimobi, rather than those of Barr. Adebayo Shittu were recognised by the former national executive of APC.
“This had led to litigation in the court in which is yet to be concluded. In this circumstance, it will only be fair that the party implement Direct Primary model to allow for fairness and unbiased process, for all candidates from both factions of the Party in Oyo State.
“ls it not curious that of all the South Western States, it is only Oyo that is recommended for Indirect model which is deliberately being implemented to exclude Barr. Adebayo Shittu from having a fair opportunity to contest, participate and win in the Gubernatorial Primary Election? If Mr. President who has a country wide constituency has agreed to submit himself for direct primary, why would Governor Ajimobi’s faction refuse direct primary which allows all aspirants in the party to test their popularity and give party members a fair opportunity of voting for the candidate of their choice?
“If the members of the party are the true owners of the party, why would they not be allowed to take ownership of their party particularly with regard to choosing a candidate they can work for, for victory in the general elections?
“Is it not instructive that many foresaw the current regrettable fate of APC in Osun State? In view of this fact, would the Party allow Ajimobi’s desperate desire to produce a stooge as a candidate, which majority of the masses in the state have vowed not to support if presented by the party for general election? This would undoubtedly be an albatross to the party in the forthcoming election.”
The Minister further charged the APC to “abide by the rule of law and respect the court processes instead of creating future legal hurdles for the party, as the Court may eventually nullify the outcome of any Indirect Primary Election”.