Elders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Southwest have dropped the direct primary plan to pick the party’s candidate for the July 24 Ekiti State governorship election.
Majority of the aspirants at a stakeholders meeting on Tuesday voted for direct primary, a process through which all card- carrying members of the party in the 177 wards will have the opportunity of voting in the primary.
The aspirants canvassed that “direct primary election is more transparent, less monetised and energises the democratic system through the participation and involvement of the generality of the party members”.
Tuesday’s meeting was a fallout of Saturday’s disrupted primary election.
However, party elders shelved the direct primary idea, “given the extent of planning and logistics involved and the closeness of the deadline for the conduct of primaries by all political parties as well as submission of names of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
The elders — Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Chief Pius Akinyelure — in a statement, said they had agreed to the primary election to be held tomorrow as announced by the National Working Committee (NWC) after a meeting with party Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun in company with two of the aspirants – Chief Segun Oni and Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele.
The elders’ statement said: “The leaders, having been assured by both the National Chairman of the party as well as His Excellency, Governor Tanko Al-Makura that the rejuvenated Primary Election Committee would put new and extra measures in place to ensure a restoration of the integrity of the electoral process aimed at producing a credible candidate with the highest number of votes.
“In view of this, the entire leadership of the party from the South West geo-political region hereby calls on all the delegates in Ekiti State to ensure full and active participation at the primary election on Friday.
“We also encourage delegates to vote according to their conscience and ensure that the process is not monetised in the overall interest of our party, the growth of our democracy and consistent with our progressive tradition which our people are noted for.
“The Aspirants themselves are enjoined to shun all manner of sharp practices and avoid any resort to violence during the rescheduled primaries.”
Aspirants for the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary slated for tomorrow are canvassing for a shift of the shadow poll till Sunday.
They made the request at a meeting with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party yesterday in Abuja.
Ajayi Olowo, one of the aspirants, who spoke to reporters after the meeting, said the date shift request was made because they needed time to get back to the their constituencies.
Olowo also said the leadership of the party assured them that a few members of the panel would be changed to reinforce its integrity.
He also dismissed the possibility of having a consensus candidate, saying: “We are all going for election.”
Many of the aspirants were at the meeting. Minister of Mines and Steel Dr. Kayode Fayemi was absent.
Some of those who attended the meeting, which was presided over by National Chairman, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, include National Vice Chairman, South West Pius Akinyelure, National Vice Chairman, South East, Emma Enukwu and other members of the NWC.
Some of the aspirants present include Babafemi Ojudu, Segun Oni, Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Hon. Femi Bamisile, Dr.Wole Oluyede, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Ayo Arise, Dr. Wole Oluleye and Dr. Adebayo Orire.
Others are Mr. Kola Alabi, Mr. Kayode Ojo, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, Mr. Victor Kolade, Mr. Debo Ajayi, Chief Dele Okeya, Chief Diran Adesua, Chief Sesan Fatoba, Mrs Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Mr. Olumuyiwa Coker and Deacon Adekunle Esan.
But National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi said the aspirants’ date change request might not be granted since INEC’s deadline for submission of the candidate’s name is May 15.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) picked Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola as candidate in a rancour-free primary held on Tuesday.