2019: Again APC Changes Tune On Primaries

The All Progressives Congress (APC) may yet again change its method for conducting primary elections for the 2019 general elections.

Its National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has hinted that indirect primaries may be considered for states with some peculiarities.

This is coming on the heels of alleged gang up by state chapters of the party against the direct primaries adopted by its National Working Committee (NWC).

It would be recalled that about 30 chairmen of state chapters of the APC had met at the weekend where they agreed to move against the direct primaries and as a last resort, against the Oshiomhole-led NWC if they do not have their way.

The threat may have informed the former Edo State governor’s change of mind.

Speaking with the Nation Newspapers in an interview, Oshiomhole said the party decided to “liberalise” its shadow polls by making all registered members automatic delegates.

According to him, the option will reduce the corruption and manipulation associated with the delegates system, which always generates huge post-primary crises.

He however acknowledged the challenges associated with the direct system, including logistic and security problems, saying they are surmountable.

“Party members are complaining that they have no role to play in the party, except voting during the general elections, like other members of the public.

“We also note that direct primary is free from the vices associated with the indirect primary. Direct primary cannot be manipulated. It is not prone to corruption.

“We want to grow democracy. We want the party members to have ownership of the party. We want to give our members a sense of belonging.”

Speaking on opposition to the direct primaries system, Oshiomhole said those opposing the direct primary are mainly governors who were the major beneficiaries of the delegates system, which they maximally exploited to personal advantage, noting that while governors are against the system, federal lawmakers are rooting for it.

He said: “The governors who have commissioners, special advisers, SSAs, and local government chairmen are still afraid of direct primary. But, senators are rooting for it. Some senators are not in the good book of their governors. But, they can win at the direct primary if they are in the good book of their people in the party.”

Hinting on a possible change of his hard stance, the chairman said while direct primary will be used for the presidential nomination, it can still be reviewed for other layers of shadow elections at the state and federal levels, in consideration of the peculiarities of the state chapters.

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