APC Presidential Primaries to Begin October
Party adopts direct primaries
Demands suspension of curfew in Adamawa
Ahead of next year's general election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has set October as the timeline for the commencement of its primary elections leading to the election of its presidential candidate.
The party at its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held yesterday in Abuja, approved the use of modified direct primaries for arriving at the choice of candidates for all subsequent elections.
Regarding the governorship by-election scheduled for October 11 in Adamawa State, the party said it was demanding a temporary lifting of the dusk to dawn curfew currently in place in the state within the election period so as to guarantee mass participation by the electorate.
According to the party, the prospect of President Goodluck Jonathan emerging the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not a source of worry but that what it is utterly concerned about is the threat of jettisoning a level-playing ground for an all-out impunity by the ruling party.
Addressing journalists shortly after the NEC meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, said the party would insist that a level playing ground prevails in the 2015, noting that if a free and fair presidential election is conducted in the country, now, APC will defeat PDP.
While explaining the NEC decision, Muhammed said the leadership had approved that direct primaries as opposed to the delegate format be used to elect party candidates for every election.
However, he said the party had allowed room for modification of the process in places currently facing security challenges.
Speaking on the conduct of the governorship by-election in Adamawa State, Muhammed said in addition to the concern of the party over bias disposition of some government officials and agencies, the party was also worried about the imposition of curfew during the election.
“At this meeting, we discussed issues relating to the conduct of by-elections in Adamawa and Niger States. Principally, we also discussed the guidelines for the primary elections and the victory of the governor of Osun State thanks to the leaders for their support. We also warned that the part must be prepared in anticipation of the atrocious and worst vicious act of the PDP at subsequent elections.
“With the state of emergency in Adamawa State and for the election to be free and fair, the curfew imposed in the state should be lifted even if temporarily during the election,” he said.
Mohammed said the party is not by its demand asking for the removal of the state of emergency in Adamawa State but that it is seeking temporal suspension of the curfew which currently restricts movement of persons in the northern part of the state between 6.30p.m. and 6a.m.
According to the APC spokesman, the party is worried that under such condition, free and fair election may become a serious challenge.
On the sudden switch of loyalty to the PDP by a leading member of APC and former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the publicity secretary said the party had become a strong brand with huge followership that the departure of one member would not adversely affect it.
While explaining the decision of the party on the guidelines for primaries, Mohammed said the modified direct primaries meant that all elected officials of the party from ward to the national levels in addition to all elected political office holders including councillors, chairmen, members of the state and national assemblies, governors, former governors, vice-president and president of the country will vote at the primaries.
He further explained that the approved guidelines would be used for the selection of the party's governorship candidate for the Adamawa by-election, adding that the same process will be rolled out to kick start the presidential primaries in October.
He said the party was expecting about 300,000 party members to participate in the election of the presidential flag-bearer.
“The adoption of direct primaries will ensure the participation of large number of our members. INEC guidelines provided for either direct of indirect primaries, but we have opted for the direct method that will ensure the largest participation of our members.
“We called it modified direct primaries because we are also aware of the challenges of getting about 20 million of our members to queue up for an election, especially in areas where we have security challenges in Yobe Adamawa and Borno States.
“We are working out a formula that will still enable the largest number of members of our party to participate. We are not settling for the delegate patten. We want to get the participation of members in the grassroots,” he said.
Mohammed also responded to questions on the position of his party on the renewed move by the Nasarawa State House of Assembly to impeach the governor, describing it as impunity, disobedience to rule of law and an attempt to try the governor twice for same alleged offence.
On the deployment of the security personnel during elections, the APC spokesman said the party totally opposesd the practice and would in the days ahead come out with fresh intervention to halt it.
He expressed support to the position taken by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, to the effect that the commission does not subscribe to the use of hooded security operatives during elections.