The method of picking All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates for the general election will top discussions today at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja.
Members of the second highest organ of the party are divided over whether to use direct primary of indirect primary.
Indirect primary is the process whereby delagates will vote to pick candidates while direct primary will thorw the process open to all bonafide members of the party.
Direct primary was adopted to pick the party’s candidate for the September 22 Osun State governorship election. Lagos State has also opted to adopt the system to pick its candidates.
Former Military Administrator of Lagos State Gen Buba Marwa, said yesterday that the issue was debated at Tuesday’s National Caucus meeting.
He said: “Last night (Tuesday) we met at the national caucus. We discussed extensively. We were of the belief that there are circumstances that could favour the use of direct primaries in some places and in some others places indirect primaries. That is why we have both in the party’s constitution. That will be left at the discretion of the NWC.
“As I said, there will be guidelines on when to apply direct or indirect and that will be specified by the NEC to the satisfaction of every one. I am absolutely confident that when the NEC meets tomorrow (today), the decision will be satisfactory to all.”
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday night said the Constitution of the APC supports the adoption of direct or indirect primaries
He said: “We cannot disagree with the Constitution so either direct or indirect primaries, you are at liberty to justify the choice you want to pick, once it suits your purpose and in line with constitution as the state determines.
“The whole essence is for us to deepen democracy and also allow our members to participate in this whole process. The idea is once you have party members that are able to take decisions on who should represent them, I think we would have gone a step higher and better than other parties. That makes us a better party.”
Those opposed to the direct primary option point to the directive by the Independent National Electoral Commission that parties interested in the direct primary option must update their register before the primary is conducted.
National Vice Chairman, (North East), Mustapha Salihu said the party would avoid the mistake made by the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which failed to properly handle its direct primary in 2011.
He said: “There are talks and arguments for and against direct and indirect primary. This mode of primary is basically the same, the difference is not much in terms of outcome, but where the difference lies is in the processes, and the level of logistics and resources required to undergo this primaries.
“This is not to say that direct primaries is not possible. It is possible, but we need a lot of preparation and a lot of work. It is not something that you just stand up one day and just think about it. It is something that you have to prepared for because of the people involved, especially in the states.
“It is different when you are conducting an election for ward chairman and councillor. But when you want to do direct primary at the governorship level, senatorial seat and House of Representatives or member of the House of Assembly, the stake is beyond that of the ward.”
Party chairman Adams aOshiomhole however promised fairness and justice in the primaries.
He told reporters that the APC would comply with the INEC guidelines because the guidelines are derived from the provisions of the Electoral Act.
He said: “The (Caucus) meeting just had a conversation around the forthcoming primaries. As you know, based on INEC timetable on primaries, this is the season from the President down to House of Assembly and the exercise must end on October 7.
“We are obliged to comply with the guidelines because the guidelines are derived from the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“So, we basically discussed how to ensure full compliance with the INEC guidelines and also ensure that that we observe all the principles of internal democracy, participation, ensuring fairness and justice.I think those are issues basically,’’ he said.
According to him, the resolutions at the APC Caucus meeting would be tabled at the NEC meeting for deliberation and possible endorsement.
” I think everybody has confidence that we will do a very credible primaries to ensure that those who fly the flag of the party have the mandate of their various constituencies.”