Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress APC says it will soon conduct credible primary election at all levels, to ensure that the right candidates emerge as the flag bearers of the party for the 2019 general election.
National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole said this late on Tuesday night, after the national caucus meeting of the party at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Oshiomhole said the party will be guided by its constitution and the procedures of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure a free and fair primary election at all levels.
“Based on the INEC timetable, this is the season for party primaries form the President down to the Houses of Assembly and according to the guideline, the exercise must end on October 7 and we are obliged to comply with this guideline because such guidelines are derived from the provisions of the country’s electoral act.
“So at the meeting, we basically discussed how to ensure full compliance with the INEC guideline and to also ensure that we observe the principles of internal democracy, participation, inclusion, fairness and justice. There are two documents that we need to respect; the electoral act and the constitution of the APC and all that we need to do are sufficiently provided for in the constitution,” he said.
The APC Chairman said the resolutions reached at the caucus meeting would be ratified by the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, at its meeting on Thursday.
Method of Primaries
On the method of primary election to be adopted by the party, Oshiomhole said it will be made public after the party‘s NEC ratifies the method to be used.
Also speaking, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said in order to deepen democracy, both the direct and indirect primaries would be used as allowed by the constitution of the APC.
“The fact remains that the constitution of our party allows us to carry out primaries and elections using either direct or indirect primaries that’s what the constitution says and that’s where we are so you are at liberty to pick and justify what you pick; once it suites your purpose in line with what the constitution says. The whole essence is for us to deepen democracy and also allow all our members to participate in this democracy,” the Governor stressed.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawal, who also spoke, noted that other important issues were discussed at the caucus meeting, where emphasis was made on the need to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party at all levels.
“Well the national caucus has taken place and the most prominent issue discuss was that of party primaries, which is coming up in September but other important issues were discussed, like the issue of a very united National Assembly APC caucuses in both the Senate and House of Representatives, and the relationships that the National Assembly members have to have with our Governors and all other stakeholders in our various States, was also discussed and the party is working so hard to ensure that in States where such issues exist, they are resolved amicably.
“We are happy our party, especially in the National Assembly is more united than ever before. Our current caucus particularly in the Senate is the most focused and united since I went to the National Assembly, because after the defections, those of us that remained in the APC and that is the majority in the Senate, we are brothers and sisters and we are on the same platform and page all the time.
“Furthermore, we are doing everything possible to ensure that the National Assembly reconvenes in good time to look into the serious issues before us, the INEC budget, approval for the foreign loan and confirmation of appointments that are before the Senate.
“These are things that we must do because our government has to make progress, Nigerians have been waiting, Nigerians have been patient and we cannot take their patience for granted,” he said.
On his part, former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who was attending the caucus meeting for the first time, following his defection from the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the APC, said he would join hands with the current administration, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to fight poverty and corruption and make life better for citizens of the country.
“I’m joining the APC as a government to do my best in the national interest, to stabilise the government and to assist the government to create employment opportunities for Nigerians so we can fight the twin brother of corruption, which is poverty; poverty creates corruption and corruption deepens poverty so it’s important that we fight both of them together and that is one thing that I find very attractive in the APC,” he said.
The caucus meeting, which lasted over two hours, was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, was attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha; current and former Governors as well as present and past members of the National Assembly that belong to the APC among others.