Stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State have insisted that the only way to ensure transparency in the rescheduled primaries of the party in the State is through direct voting.
The stakeholders, who were drawn from all the Senatorial zones of the state, in a news briefing today, Wednesday, said that direct primaries should be the preferred method for democratic leaning institutions like the APC.
They gave the following reasons for the position they have taken:
- The members of the party should have equal rights to express their will as to who should be the flag bearers of their party in the Ekiti Gubernatorial race. Direct primaries achieve this.
- Delegate primary has been highly compromised as witnessed last Saturday and doing it again exposes the party to repeating the same mistake only at a grander level.
- The NWC itself has shown bias and given that delegate primary is more susceptible to its manipulation especially since it is secret ballot of selected delegates and in selection of officials to administer the same. Direct primaries provide a counter balance to NWC biased influence.
- Direct primaries provides an easier and cheaper option since it will be on decentralized basis and it will be Option A4 with no ballot papers printed, just result sheets and minimal security.
- Candidates will be able to canvass more widely and less likely to have opportunities for circumventing the democratic process either with bribes.
- The demand of Ekiti is direct primary as evidenced by the way the Aspirants voted at the SW Leader Caucus Meeting. Any other plan implemented will be unsafe and dangerous even for our party officials. We must be cautious. The situation is tense in Ekiti today and no security guarantees can be provided to any position that counters the position of our elders and the candidates that met them.
The stakeholders therefore appealed to the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to do the right thing and tow the path of honour and respect Ekiti for the collective benefit of our party, saying that they cannot love Ekiti better than Ekitians and their regional leaders.
“We plead for the voice of reason. We enjoin that our President and voices of our National Leader must be respected and not embarrassed. Let us make Ekiti State APC stronger not weaker.”
They made it clear that Ekiti Progressives in the APC are one, and are united in ensuring the basic tenets of Democracy are upheld in the party despite the embarrassing and terrible situation that was witnessed at the attempted delegate primary held last Saturday in Ado Ekiti.
“We note with dismay the irregularities that preceded that exercise including shoddy arrangements by the organizing committee, lack of clear guidelines by the primary committee, the conflict of interest of its members, use of levers of violence and security agencies at the primary grounds and violation of secret ballot rules including evidence of primary delegates compromised by bribes, threats and intimidation.
“We also note with dismay the incoherent response of the NWC of the party, which seem to be acting at cross purposes with the state executives who had their offices invaded by thugs as well as statements issued seemingly in coordination with one particular candidate to the detriment of others. We also note that one or two NWC members have since claimed no meetings to discuss Ekiti Post Primary has been held which further puts to test the claim of NWC’s impartiality and ability to constitute an even handed primary committee now and in the Future.
“It is for this reason we commend the intervention of the Southwest Nigeria leaders on the instruction of Mr. President on the brewing crisis in Ekiti.
“We note the democratic fashion of SW Leaders’ intervention and the vote of Aspirants taken which allowed all in attendance to weigh in on the three options available: direct primaries, indirect primaries and consensus. Indeed, it was not surprising that direct primaries were selected as the preferred method by 17 of 24 Aspirants in attendance.”
Those who signed the statement are Chief Segun Ajibulu from Ekiti North Senatorial District, Chief Odetola (Odelodu) from Ekiti North Senatorial, Chief Olu Oyewole Akewi from Ekiti North Senatorial, Ambassador M. Onipede from Ekiti South Senatorial District, Hon Femi Adeleye from Ekiti North Senatorial District, Engineer Bode Adetunji from Ekiti Central District, Chief Tope Omoshilade from Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Pastor Egbeyemi from Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Hon Funmilola Adeyemo from Ekiti Central Senatorial District and Chief (Mrs) Kehinde Olokeshusi from South Senatorial District. [myad]