John Alechenu, Abuja
The National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress has adopted the direct primary method for the selection of its presidential candidate.
It also agreed that states should adopt the mode of primary that best suits their peculiarities from among the methods specified in the party’s constitution.
The party however said states that would adopt the direct primary method should notify the national secretariat in writing before doing so.
This was part of the resolutions reached by the party’s second highest decision-making body after its NEC meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who briefed the media after the meeting, noted that the party’s constitution provides for direct, indirect and consensus as methods through which candidates can emerge.
He said, “The constitution of the party provides for either direct, indirect or consensus but for the presidential election we all agreed that we will adopt direct primaries for the presidential election.
“Also a recommendation was made by the National Working Committee that the other states should adopt the indirect mode but there may be situations that this might be a difficulty in the state looking at their peculiarities. So, if there are such difficulties they can apply following the process.”
While responding to a question on whether the issue of automatic tickets was discussed, he said, “We didn’t discuss the issue of automatic ticket. But we discussed that yes, patriotic and loyal members should be rewarded but not necessarily with automatic ticket. We are saying some senators, our senators who are patriotic, who are supposed to be taken away were all kept in the party.
“So, all states should look at and then we will find ways of rewarding them. But election is giving option for everybody to contest election.”
He revealed that the decision about the costs of nomination and expression of interest forms was referred to the party’s NWC to decide but that it was generally agreed that it should be reasonable.
Also speaking on the issue of automatic tickets, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said, “People refer to issue of automatic ticket to governors and legislators. In our party, we have a reward system.
“You surely will not throw away a loyal party man. You will not punish a loyal party man. We will always support and reward those legislators who were supposed to have been taken away in a deceitful manner but stood by Mr President, with this country, those that are patriotic to this party and this country surely will be rewarded in one way or the other.”
He explained that the membership registration would be intensified to provide a reliable data-base for the conduct of the direct primary to select the presidential standard bearer.
We must get our internal dynamics right to win –Buhari
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari who arrived at the venue at 11.20 am, asked the party leadership to ensure that the party got its internal dynamics right in order to post an excellent performance in the 2019 elections.
He said party leaders were expected to ensure that decisions taken at the NEC took into account the yearnings and aspirations of supporters across the country.
The President said with elections coming up early next year, “any political party worth its salt must get its internal dynamics right and march as a team.”
He also said, “Today, we were meeting to look at some major decisions that will ensure an excellent performance at the polls next year.
“Starting with party primaries at various levels, I urge you all to ensure that decisions taken here are those that will be for the good of the party and meet the yearnings and expectations of our teeming members and supporters nationwide. They look up to us for guidance and we must not disappoint or fail them.”
Buhari dismissed fears that the exit of some party stalwarts would affect the APC’s chances in 2019.
He said, “Despite reconciliatory attempts to keep the house together, some members were hell-bent on pulling down the roof. They left, threatening to go along with scores of people. But due to the work of the new party leadership, the exit barely made a dent on our super structure as they could not muster the figure they had envisaged to cause an upset, particularly in the two chambers of the National Assembly.”
The President said the APC remained in control of the legislature and that the party was daily being boosted by the entry of “quality people.”
He vowed to pursue the anti-graft war to its logical conclusion and reposition the economy for the benefit of all.
Buhari charged party leaders to ensure that the process of selecting candidates must comply with provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); the Electoral Act and the party’s constitution.
APC won’t miss migrant politicians –Oshiomhole
In his remarks, the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said the party would not miss politicians whom he said had perfected the art of migrating from one party to another with each election season.
He said despite his administration’s efforts to broker peace, some party members still left the fold.
Oshiomhole said, “Those who were determined to leave, not on account of what anybody has done wrong against them, but on account of an ambition they believe they cannot realize on our platform, even though they were not denied the opportunity to try out that ambition, but perhaps because they could read like an oracle what the future would be particularly as people have contested before when we didn’t have any incumbent.
“Those who had dollars gave, those had nails gave and Mr President said I don’t have, but even if I have, I won’t give, but will offer honest leadership. At the end, the President won, but the victory did not purge those with that ambition and they were determined that they must contest and they were free to do that.
“I had thought that by the provisions in our party constitution, they had the right to contest and that right was not going to be denied them. But reflecting on what has happened in the past and reading the minds of party members and leaders, they came to the conclusion that the only way they can realize their ambition was to relocate and they relocated.”
He expressed confidence that their exit would not have an adverse effect on the party’s fortunes.
He said, “I speak of (politicians with) no particular fixed address because if you have a history of moving every season from one political party to the other with one constant thing in mind, to contest, now what is your political address? So, for people like that, who are migrant politicians, rolling-stone politicians, I am not able to identify their political address and therefore, I refuse to miss my sleep.”
He assured party members, especially legislators, who had genuine cases of unfair treatment that the party would do what was right to ensure that justice was done.
The party chairman expressed delight that President Muhammdu Buhari had not disappointed Nigerians since he took over the saddle of leadership in 2015.
He also noted that since the President took over, the APC had won most of the elections it had contested in various states, the latest being in Ekiti State which before the APC’s victory was a stronghold of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
Dogara, Lasun absent, send apologies
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and his deputy, Suleiman Lasun, were absent from the National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress on Thursday.
The two are currently the highest ranking members of the party in the legislature following the decision of the Senate President Bukola Saraki to dump the party to join the opposition. Saraki’s deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, is a member of the PDP.
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, conveyed their apologies. Dogara and Lasun are among top party leaders who have at one point or another voiced their displeasure over happenings within the party.
Lasun was particularly unhappy with the adoption of the direct method for the Osun governorship primary which he participated in and lost.
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