By Adedayo Akinwale
The Chairman of Ondo State Governorship Primary Election Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello, has said that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had decided to adopt indirect mode of primary to select the party’s candidate.
He added that it was not within the purview of contestants to choose rules of engagement for the party, but to follow laid down rules and regulations.
Bello disclosed this yesterday while speaking with journalists after the inauguration of the primary election and election appeal committees of the Ondo State governorship at the party Secretariat in Abuja.
He stated: “On the issue of the mode of primary, this has been settled by the previous NWC and ratified by National Executive Committee (NEC), which gives the opportunity to the state executive committee to choose the mode of primary that they would want. This has been settled. The Ondo primary election would be conducted via indirect mode.
“This was the option chosen by the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress and ratified by the National Executive Committee NEC of our great party in the last meeting. So, we are going for indirect primary.”
Bello said that the responsibility before him now was to go and conduct free, fair and credible primary election for whoever was going to be the candidate of the party, adding that he would restrict himself to that.
In carrying out the assignment therefore, Bello noted that he would be guided by the Constitution of the party, the guidelines and all the laws that support the primary election.
According to him, “If free, fair and credible primary is conducted, every member of the party, those who contested and those who are not contesting, including members and sympathisers of the party would support it to victory. I am very confident that we are going to win the general election by the grace of God.”
Bello added that Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello was presently in Ondo State mediating and to ensure that there was peaceful coexistence and agreement on this mode of primary among the aspirants.
He said: “But let me put it this way, from what I know about party politics especially in APC, I was once a contestant and I had opponents and from what I have come to realise, it is not within the purview of contestants. to choose rules of engagement.
We follow laid down rules and regulations of the party. As a member, we should abide by the rules and regulations, our party Constitution, the guidelines for the elections, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Electoral Act and every other rule that guides elections.
“So, it is like going into the general elections now and then APC will be dictating to INEC that this is the rule we want. I do not think it sounds very nicely but I know at the end of the day that every contestant in this election shall be treated fairly and credibly and we shall have a candidate that is going to be acceptable to all the contestants and the people of Ondo State and we shall come out victorious in the general elections.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Caretaker/extraordinary National Convention Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mr. Mai Mala Buni, said the committee had been painstakingly taking some deliberate measures of true reconciliation and consultations to foster unity and strengthen the party since it came on board three weeks ago.
He said he was proud to state that the measures were now yielding fruitful results, adding that the committee was committed to build on the achievements.
Buni noted that the ruling party was also carefully avoiding issues with the tendency of creating disaffection, animosity and division to reignite fresh crisis within its fold.
He said the party had appointed reputable, credible and dependable Chairmen and members for the Primary Election and Appeal Committees, stressing that the party was convinced that the committees would be fair, transparent, impartial and upright to do justice to all the aspirants in the course of their assignments.
Buni added: “As a party with great respect for internal democracy, we must appreciate and honour the popular choice for us to have a marketable candidate to be presented to the electorates during the election. There is no doubt; we are committed to renewing the mandate from the good people of Ondo State. I wish to caution our aspirants to respect the rules governing the party primary.
“The party is once again assuring you that it will remain fair and just to all and, as loyal party members, we expect you to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith.
“You should have control over your supporters against any act that is detrimental to the success of the exercise and, of breach to peace.”