Rivers APC Faction Adopts Direct Primaries

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• Ondo APC to conduct parallel primary elections •Gombe faction raises the alarm •Crisis looms in Edo chapter
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt, Segun Awofadeji in Gombe, James Sowole in Akure
A faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State yesterday adopted the use of direct primaries in selecting candidates for the party in the 2019 general election in the state.

 However, the fear of a parallel primary election to elect candidates of the APC in Ondo State ahead of the 2019 general election was heightened yesterday as members of the party opposed to the indirect primary method adopted by the state branch of the party started obtaining nomination and Expression of Interest forms from the executive of a faction of the party in the state.

This is coming as the APC Stakeholders’ Forum in Gombe State has warned that the party stands the risk of facing its worst defeat if indirect primaries are adopted for the selection of the party’s candidates for the 2019 elections.

Also, impending implosion would likely rock the Edo State chapter of the ruling party if the state party leadership flouts the directive of the National Executive Committee (NEC).
In a communique issued at the end of a meeting of the expanded State Executive Committee (SEC) of the faction, the party said direct primaries would afford its members the opportunity to participate in the process of electing persons that would fly the party’s flag in the forthcoming general election.

The position of the faction, which is loyal to the Senator representing Rivers South East senatorial district in the National Assembly and governorship aspirant, Senator Magnus Abe, is in contrast to the position of the faction loyal to Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, which has favoured indirect primaries.

The communiqué, which  was signed by the factional acting Chairman, Prince Peter Odike, said the decision was in consonance with the APC’s position and desire to make the elections in 2019 and beyond reflective of the will and aspiration of the people.

In a related development, the fear of a parallel primary election to elect candidates of the APC in Ondo State ahead of the 2019 general election was heightened yesterday as members of the party opposed to the indirect primary method adopted by the state branch of the party started obtaining nomination and Expression of Interest forms from the executive of a faction of the party in the state.

One of those opposed to indirect primary election and a serving member of the House of Representatives , Hon. Kolawole Babatunde, was presented his form by the parallel Chairman of the party in the state, Mr. Idowu Otetubi.
Otetubi, who described himself as the authentic chairman of the APC in the state, said the party allowed aspirants to obtain their forms either at the state secretariat or at the national secretariat.

Otetubi said he was the chairman that emerged from the properly-constituted congress of the party.
Meanwhile, the APC Stakeholders’ Forum in Gombe State has warned that the party stands the risk of facing its worst defeat if indirect primaries are adopted for the selection of the party’s candidates for the 2019 elections.

Addressing a press conference to protest the planned indirect primaries yesterday, Secretary of the Forum, Abdul-Ghaniyu Bello, said the failure of the party to win the governorship election in 2015 would be a child’s play should the party go ahead to impose the unpopular indirect method on its members.

The forum added that despite the fact that Gombe State is being governed by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, the state is largely an APC state even before the 2015 elections.
The Forum secretary stated that after the conduct of the governorship primaries in 2015, the party members became deeply divided, resulting in its defeat at the polls few months later.

In a related development, impending implosion would likely rock the Edo State chapter of the ruling party if the state party leadership flout the directive of the National Executive Committee (NEC).
The crisis, THISDAY learnt, might emanate from the insistent of the party caucus in the state to conduct  consensus primaries against the desire of the other members of the party who are of the opinion that the directives of party NEC on direct or indirect primaries must be adhered to.

This has divided the party into two – those who are in favour of NEC’s directives and the party leadership who has concluded arrangements to adopt consensus.
Speaking to journalists in Benin City, capital of Edo State, a senatorial aspirant, Chief Francis Inegbineki, said it is direct primaries or nothing else.

Inegbineki, who is aspiring for Edo Central senatorial district, seat in the Senate, said with direct primaries, a popular candidate would emerge unlike consensus that would bring out a puppet of a selected few leaders.
Also, the former member, representing Ovia federal constituency from 2011 to 2015 who is aspiring to return, Hon. Isaac Osahon, has also kicked against consensus.
He advised that since the party NEC has directed the use of direct or indirect primaries, the party leadership at the state level should abide by it in order not to cause crisis in the state.