APC backtracks, says NEC adopted direct primary for elections
Confusion now trails the Thursday resolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the mode of primary to be adopted for the selection of candidates for the forth coming general election, as the party has retracted on its earlier statement on the use of indirect primary.
While the party told Nigerians after the meeting on Thursday that indirect primaries was to be adopted for all categories of offices except the Presidential primary, it back tracked on Friday saying indirect primary was to be adopted for all the primaries.
A source within the party told Daybreak News that President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the party were favorably disposed to the use of direct primary, while the governors prefer indirect option.
Acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena told newsmen that the NEC actually resolved to use direct primary for all primary elections, while states wishing to use indirect primary should hold a stakeholders meeting and agree on it.
He said “the 30th August, 2018 resolution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Committee (NEC) on the mode of Primary Election has been subject to inference and misleading interpretations. As an update to the earlier released statement, we wish to make the following clarifications on NEC’s resolutions on Mode of Primary Election:
Primary elections into all elective offices shall be by Direct Primaries.
NEC resolved to adopt Direct Primaries for the nomination of the Presidential candidate and all other Primaries.
The Party’s constitution though provides for Indirect Election and Consensus, however, the use of Indirect Primaries is conditional and dependent on logistic impediments; peculiarities and need of a given State that makes it unable to use Direct Primaries.
The State Executive Committee (SEC) shall in consultation with aspirants and other critical stakeholders of the Party in a given State forward for the consideration and approval by the National Working Committee (NWC), if Indirect Primaries is to be adopted. The adopted mode shall now be applied to all categories of the Party’s Primary Elections i.e. State Assembly, Senate, House of Representatives and for the Governorship Elections.
The request for Indirect Primaries must be signed by majority of the State Executive Committee and critical stakeholders in attendance at the meeting where such resolution is reached.
He said further that “Direct Primaries will among others ensure fairness; create a level playing ground for contestants; eliminate corrupt tendencies usually associated with the delegates system and ultimately ensure full participation of party members at all levels.”
Plateau state Governor Simon Lalong and his Kogi state counterpart, Yahaya Bello has told newsmen that the party NEC resolved to use direct primary only for the presidential primary while states wishing to use direct primary should apply to the National Working Committee of the party with the approval of majority of their stakeholders and the state working committee.
Meanwhile, the decision to adopt direct primary for only the Presidential election and indirect Primary for other category of primary may threaten the unity already achieved ahead of the party primaries.
While governors and state party Chairmen strongly canvassed and secure the indirect primary the members of the legislature are not comfortable with the decision as they see it as a ploy by the governors to manipulate the process to favour their candidates.
Some of the lawmakers told Daybreak News that the decision of the party NEC will not foster unity as the governors have shown that they were not interested in the unity of the party and in working for the success of the President.
One of them told Daybreak News that “it will be dangerous to have APC senators who don’t have return ticket, especially in view of current development in the Senate, and now with the Senate President declaring interest in the presidential seat.
“Saraki need just 18 more people to impeach the President. So, it will be a disaster to have Senators who are interested in retaining their seat, but don’t have return ticket because the governors are allowed to manipulate the process to favour their choice candidates. So I don’t think they should make that mistake.
“Why are the governors afraid of direct primary. They have the control of the party structures in their states, but should allow the will of the people to prevail. If they are true democrats and progressives, they should not try to impose their candidates on the people.
“We are waiting to see how the party will address this issue in the coming days. But I must tell you that if they allow legislators who stood by the President and the party in this trying time, they would have started what they cannot finish, because in future, nobody will make that sacrifice again.
“If the party allows governors to manipulate the process in favour of their candidates, they would have told us in clear terms that loyalty does not pay. And you know what that means”, the lawmaker who spoke in confidence said.
However, Daybreak News learnt that barely any last minute change in the proposed nomination fees for nomination forms, President Muhammadu Buhari may have to cough out a whopping sum of N55 million to obtain the nomination form for the presidential contest of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The nomination fee was part of the proposal presented to the National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which took place in Abuja on Thursday by the National Working Committee.
Daybreak News gathered that although the proposal was not been approved by the NEC which is the highest decision making body of the party, it was however extensively discussed, while the National Working Committee was mandated to review the figures in line with the Electoral Act.
The President and all others who contested the Presidential primary in November 2014 paid the sum of N27.5 million to procure the nomination form.
According to the proposal, candidates contesting the governorship election are to pay N22.5 million, up from the current N5.5 million, while Senatorial aspirants are expected to pay N8.5 million as against the current N3.3 million.
Aspirants for the House of Representatives who have been paying N2.2 million may be required to cough out N3.5 million while aspirants for the State House of Assembly may be required to cough out N1.1 million as against the existing N550,000.
The proposal showed that as against the existing provision where female aspirants and the physically challenged are given free forms to contest elections at all levels, the proposal is suggesting that the two categories of aspirants are to pay fifty percent of the fees for the category of election they want to contest for.
The proposed guideline requires each aspirant to sign an undertaking to be of good behavior and to be vicariously liable for the action of his supporters, adding that “where it is established that an aspirant and of his supporters are responsible for breaches of the peace and or law, the aspirant may be disqualified from participating in the nomination exercise and in serious cases prosecuted”.
Daybreak News reliably gathered that the new fees attracted serious debate among party leaders present at the NEC meeting who insisted that the fees was too high, but agreed to allow the National Working Committee take a further look at the figures and agree on how much should be paid for nomination.
Plateau state Governor, Simon Lalong who addressed newsmen after the meeting confirmed that leaders present at the meeting expressed concern over the high cost of the fee and the need to review it.
He said “We debated the cost of nomination and left it to the National Working Committee to take into consideration some of the views expressed and come out with a reasonable figure and any figure they bring out will be acceptable and we don’t need to come back to NEC to ratify it.”