APC to Mediate on Disputes over Mode of Primary Elections

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 Bindow, Ribadu, former SGF clash in Adamawa

 By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Barring any change in its schedule, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will today begin consideration of issues relating to the mode of primary elections for various state chapters of the party.

This is coming as the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal and ex-chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, are set for a major political battle with the Adamawa State Governor, Umar Bindow, over the mode of primaries to adopt for the election of APC candidates in the state.

The issue of the option to adopt by the states to conduct their primary elections has become a subject of dispute, which had pitted party stakeholders against each other.

Although, APC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had approved the use of direct primary election for all elective offices, it however, obliged the use of indirect or consensus options based on acceptance by majority of the party’s stakeholders.

NEC also mandated the NWC to resolve any dispute over the choice of mode of primary election and to permit any of the options that is appropriate.

THISDAY gathered that due to the controversies that trailed the party congresses in most of the states, the leadership of the party now prefers direct primary in order to avoid legal challenges that may come up.

However, following the disagreement among party stakeholders in many state chapters, APC national leadership, has decided to look into petitions from states as well as resolutions from party state executives.

A source at the party headquarters told THISDAY that NWC will at the end of its deliberation, decide on which of the mode of primaries the states will adopt.

Meanwhile, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Lawal and ex-chairman of  the EFCC, Mr. Ribadu, are set for a major political battle with the Adamawa State governor, Bindow, over the made of primaries to adopt for the election of APC candidates in the state.

Lawal and Ribadu had led other stakeholders of the APC in Adamawa State, including governorship aspirants to petition the national leadership of the party demanding use of direct primaries to elect candidates for the 2019 elections.

Among party’s stakeholders from the state who signed the petition addressed to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, were  Senator Ahmed Abubakar Mo’Allayidi, and Senator Abubakar Halilu Girei, Senator Bello Tuku, Marcus Gundiri, Sadiq Muhammed, and Mahmoud Halilu.

In a petition read out by Lawal during a press conference at the weekend in Abuja, the Adamawa State APC stakeholders said they were opting for direct primaries as against the use of indirect primary method being championed by Governor Bindow.

The aggrieved stakeholders alleged that a meeting of the Adamawa APC State Executive Committee convened was held at the Government House on September 3 where indirect primary was allegedly adopted as mode of electing party standard bearers.

They said the meeting was convened secretly, adding that the aspirants, statutory delegates and critical stakeholders were kept in the dark and were not invited.

The party leaders accused the state governor of trying to use indirect primary election to win an undeserved second term ticket.

“It was therefore a meeting of like minds, persons who are prepared to perpetuate illegality to satisfy the whims of a single individual who has totally lost out in popularity and integrity.

“We, as aspirants, statutory delegates and stakeholders want to unequivocally dissociate ourselves from the purported resolution which was done in bad faith and is bound to affect the image and chances of our great party in the forthcoming elections,” the group said.

According to Lawal, the larger majority of the APC family in Adamawa State received the news of the adoption of direct primary by NEC of the party with pleasure and enthusiasm.

He said the members are pleased that they are going to help the party in nominating credible, acceptable and marketable candidates to fly the party’s flag.

Lawal also spoke of pending litigations over the last congress held in the state, warning that any step taken to over reach or disregard the legal processes may result in the nullification of whatever the outcome sooner than later.

“We, therefore, cannot allow unpopular persons who are afraid of voters to change the rule of the game.

“It is equally necessary to remind all the parties concerned of the pendency of an appeal filed in respect of the outcome of the ward, local government and state congresses in Adamawa State in May, 2018,” he said.