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APC insists on direct primary for Edo polls

Barring any last-minute change of mind, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has insisted on adopting a direct primary to pick its candidate for the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo State.

The decision is seen in some quarters as part of the ‘grand design’ by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to stop Governor Godwin Obaseki from actualising his second term in office.

It is open knowledge that there had been no love lost between the two political gladiators over sundry issues relating to the governance of the state.

Obaseki, who is wary of how the same model was deployed to toss out former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, had faulted the process under the pretext that it could unnecessarily expose the citizenry to the deadly coronavirus.

Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, the governor had argued that it made no sense to gather over 500,000 party members in the name of direct primary in contravention of the COVID-19 protocols.

A faction of the state chapter of the party, led by Anselm Ojesua, had also contended that the NWC lacked the power under the APC constitution to dictate the mode of primary to be adopted, preferring the indirect system instead.

As the controversy rages, the National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the ruling grouping, Prince Hilliard Eta, in a chat with The Guardian, maintained that there was no going back on the “decision to use the direct mode of primary since it was in line with the party constitution.”

Expressing surprise over the dust being generated by the pronouncement, he stated: “The NWC has given a directive as required by the party constitution. How can that be a controversy? You people are just making a mountain out of a molehill.

“What we do as a tradition is that, if a state started with a particular mode of primary, the governorship election is a culmination of that process. That if a state begins a process of primary from the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate, it culminates with the governorship election. If a state takes a particular route of primary, it would end along the same route. That is the tradition that we have all these while. Edo State started with direct primaries and must end with direct primaries.”

On the claim by the Edo state chapter that it had the power to decide the mode of selection, Eta quipped: “When they say so, ask them to show any place in the party constitution that gives them that right.”

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