The All Progressives Congress (APC) has granted the demand of state governors that each state chapter of the party be allowed to choose the mode of primaries to pick candidates for the 2019 elections.
According to PUNCH, the decision was reached after a three-hour meeting between the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the party’s 22 governors at the Imo State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The party had, after its last National Executive Council meeting, announced that the party would choose its candidates through direct primaries.
It stated that states wishing to use the indirect method must get the approval of stakeholders in the states and write to the national secretariat.
The party’s national leadership said the letter must be signed by a majority of members of the state executive committee.
It stated that the presidential primary would, however, be by the direct method.
Some stakeholders, especially members of the National Assembly, had insisted on the direct option on the grounds that the indirect method could be easily manipulated by governors.
The APC governors, however, insisted on the indirect method which they eventually got during the Wednesday’s meeting.
After the meeting, Oshiomhole told reporters that in line with the tradition of the APC, stakeholders had submitted to the dictates of the party members.
He said, “We just concluded a meeting and we have resolved that we are going to have free and fair primaries. And we have adopted both direct and indirect.
“Most of the states are going for indirect primaries, but for the President, it is going to be direct primary. We assure Nigerians that we are ready for the primaries and we are ready for the main election and we are sure that in 2019, APC will have the victory.
“The 22 governors and the National Working Committee are working together and we have resolved to make sure that we get victory for the party come 2019.
“We believe in internal democracy because we are democrats and democracy must begin from within the house.
“We are committed to transparent primaries and we will ensure that everyone’s interest is protected in our party. We are happy at the level of enthusiasm measured by the number of persons who have applied for various positions from House of Assembly. It shows that a huge number of Nigerians still prefer the All Progressives Congress as the more credible platform to contest.
“Our task is very simple; obey the rules of the party, obey the rules of fairness, obey the rules of natural justice and that is what we mean when we talk about free and fair primaries.
“Our constitution consciously provides for flexibility; to reflect the diversity of our great country and also to try to give expression to the entire essence of federalism which allows different states to look at their own situation and advise the NWC as to what works better for them provided that in all the cases, the process is democratic, the rules are fair and the officiating officials are impartial.
“Those of us who are governors, the NWC members and even the President, we all agreed that this is the way to go and that is what we are going to do.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, said, “The NEC has made it clear that the state chapters of the party will decide what they want, either direct or indirect primaries.”
Also, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai said, “There is no way 100 per cent of the party members will agree to one thing. There will always be some that will disagree; but the decision of NEC is that the majority of the state executive committee should decide on the mode of primaries. In Kaduna State, which I’m the governor, the majority of the state executive committee has decided on indirect primaries.”