APC to Conduct Primaries in Oct, Adopts Direct Primaries to Allow Participation of 300,000 Members
The All Progressives Congress has said it will conduct a primary election in which at least 300,000 of its members will determine its presidential candidate for the 2015 election.
The party said it would not adopt the delegate system in the primary election, but the modified direct system, which would involve such number of people that would be difficult for aspirants to buy over.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary made this known at the end of the party’s first National Executive Council meeting in Abuja.
He said the party’s primaries for all positions would commence in October.
The party also condemned the various political rallies already being held for President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid.
He said unlike the PDP which would automatically adopt President Jonathan as its candidate, the APC would hold a credible primary election for all positions.
It said the Peoples Democratic Party and President Jonathan are by the rallies violating electoral guidelines with impunity.
It also said for the forthcoming October 11 governorship bye-election in Adamawa State to be free and fair, the Federal Government must lift the curfew imposed on the state during the period of the election.
Mohammed explained that the party’s call for the lifting of the curfew in the state did not imply calling for the termination of emergency rule in the state.
While it maintained that the party would win the forthcoming October 11 governorship bye-election in Adamawa State, it said the recent defection of the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to the PDP would not have any adverse effect on its fortune in the state.
Ribadu had contested the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, which was one of the opposition party that merged to become the APC.
Already, former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and others are said to be making underground moves to emerge if possible as the party’s consensus candidate.
Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano State and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, though still a member of the PDP have been tipped as possible candidates of the APC in the 2015 presidential election.
Buhari, Atiku, Kwakwanso, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State were among those who attended the NEC meeting.
Other South-West governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu were absent.
Away from its tradition of adopting consensus candidates for various elections, Mohammed said on Thursday, that the party would conduct primaries to ensure that candidates who would emerge on its platform.
Mohammed said, “It is going to be direct. We would want to see the greatest participation of our members.
“We obviously, definitely, will not adopt a delegate convention because delegate election has probably about 6,000 delegates. What we are thinking about will involve almost 300,000 people.
“For presidential election what we are thinking about, we will make sure that elected officials from the ward level, local government level, state level, national EXCO, the caucus,members of Board of Trustees of the party, all elected officials on the platform of the party, council chairmen, councillors, House of Assembly members, National Assembly members are all eligible to participate in the choice of who is going to be the flag bearer of the party at whatever level.
“Of course when it comes to the presidential election, we will be talking about over 300,000 people because there are about 8,000 wards all over Niigeria today, and in each ward we have about 25 officers. If you multiply 25 by 8,000 you already have about 200,000 people.
“If you now move to Local government level, you have about 774 local governments in the country and in each again, we have about 20 officers; 20 multiply by 774, we have about 20,000. This way, we believe we are going to make sure whoever emerges as the candidate of the party has support of the party at the most grassroot level which is the ward level.
“You are including executives in 8,000 wards all over Nigeria. That alone will give you about 200,000 as opposed to 6,000 or 7,000 delegates that would have participated.
“I think it will be more difficult to buy over 200,000 people than 7,000 people.”
It said the party would be adopting a modified version of the direct primary, which he said was one of the options prescribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission for parties to choose their candidates for various elections.
He said, “The party discussed guidelines of primaries, and principally, the party has decided that the primaries will start as early as October.
“We would want to ensure the participation of a large section of our people. We have opted on what we called a modified direct primary for the party.
“INEC says, you either do a direct or indirect primary. We’ve opted for the direct. We’ve opted for a method that will ensure the largest participation of our members.
“We now called it modified because we are also aware of certain constraints to getting all your 20million of members or thereabout to queue up for elections especially in areas where we have security challenges like Yobe and Adamawa states.
“So we are working out a formula that will still enable the largest members of our party to participate. What I can assure you is that we are not settling for delegates election. We want to get people from the grassroot to be involved in our primaries because we want to show the world that we are different, and that our party and our primaries will be not only be grassroots inspired, it will also be transparent and it will be free.”
Mohammed also said the party commended INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, for stating that hooded security men would not be used for future elections in the country.
On the rallies for Jonathan’s second term bid, Mohammed lamented that the president and his party were violating the electoral guidelines without anybody to challenge them.
He said, “I think the PDP has already come up with its candidate. I think we must be fooling ourselves if we think that all these orchestrated dramas about asking Jonathan to come and run are to believed.
“But what we are saying is that Mr. President and the PDP are violating the electoral guidelines with impunity and nobody to stop them.
“But I can assure you that we, in the APC are not threatened by the emergence of any candidate. The only thing that is threatening us is the absence of a level playing field.
“If today a free and fair election is conducted in Nigeria we are very confident that we are going to defeat PDP. But we will insist that a level playing field is procured.”
On Ribadu’s defection, the party said it was not worried, as the exit of just one person would not affect its fortune in the forthcoming Adamawa election.
Mohammed said, “The beauty of our politics is the freedom of association. No party will want to lose any of its member, but frankly speaking, we believe that the APC is such a strong brand with a strong followership in Adamawa and all over Nigeria that the defection of any one person will not adversely affect our fortune and we have moved on.”
He added that the party’s demand for lifting of curfew during the bye-election in Adamawa was to ensure a free and fair election.
He said, “I think one thing the party insisted on with the state of emergency in Adamawa State today for the election to be free and fair, the party will insist that the curfew, imposed on the state be lifted and temporarily during the election time.
“I don’t want to be misquoted, I don’t want to be misunderstood, we are not saying they should lift state of emergency, we are saying the curfew must be suspended for the period of the election.”
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