Candidates for next year’s election will be picked through direct primary, the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided.
Leaders of the party adopted the model at a “stakeholders consultative meeting” at the party secretariat yesterday.
Giving the advantage of the system, which was adopted to pick the candidate of the party for the September 22 Osun State goverborship election, APC stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said it was a way of rekindling internal democracy within the fold, “because with this the party has gone back to its owners: the people”.
Direct primary is a system in which all card carrying members of the party will participate in voting to pick candidates rather than leave the process for delegates.
Tinubu who spoke at the consultative meeting, said the chapter would embark on a fresh membership drive with the registration of new members and that it would also ensure that all existing members were issued with identity cards to enable them participate in the primaries.
Tinubu, who spoke most of the time in Yoruba, said intending members could do their pre-registration online. He enjoined council chairmen to ensure that the exercise is seamless; adding that those that register more members and ensure that more Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) are collected within their domain would be rewarded with a fresh tenure.
Alluding to the fact that officers shouldered with the responsibility might want to collect bribe before doing their job, he said: “If we don’t register more members, how can we elect the governor, our lawmakers and the President in next year’s general elections?”
The APC stalwart assured members that the Lagos State chapter would have free and fair primaries ahead of 2019 and that there would be no favouratism. He said: “It is APC members that will decide who will represent them: you will do this with your vote.”
He also indicated that all aspirants for elective positions and members who intend to take part in the primaries must possess their membership cards and their PVCs, adding that the registration drive would enable defectors who joined the party from other platforms to enlist in the APC in their constituencies.
Tinubu described the noise about defections in recent times as unnecessary distraction, because the defections would not affect the fortunes of the party in the general election. He described those who defected as saboteurs.
The former Lagos State governor said the victory of party’s candidates in by-elections in Bauchi, Kogi, Katsina and the Ekiti governorship election are indications that the party was still solid. He said the party would record another victory in Osun State next month because he has confidence in Governor Rauf Aregbesola who laid a solid foundation for the state. “We have seen the good work he is doing in Osun,” he added.
Tinubu took a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo for saying Nigerians should not support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid, saying the former president did not utilize the eight years he spent in power to lay a solid foundation for Nigeria.
He said foundation is crucial to any building and that it was the foundation his team laid during his tenure that made it possible for former Governor Babatunde Fashola and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to succeed.
He added that if Obasanjo had laid a good foundation in Abuja, Nigeria would not be in such a deplorable state. “He did not lay a good foundation and he is accussing President Buhari of performing below par.”
The APC National Leader commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s decisiveness in dealing with the invasion of the National Assembly by operatives of the DSS, adding that Osinbajo’s action saved the party from embarrassment.
Tinubu said the APC is still steadfastly committed to President Buhari’s ability to change Nigeria for the better. He said members knew from the outset that fighting corruption would not be an easy task, because it will fight. “But we were not deterred,” he said.
Tinubu also dismissed the insinuation that the party is divided in the State, saying there is nothing of such, and that the party is intact.
He said: “We reiterate the fact that APC in Lagos State is intact. There is no division. I’ve heard some people conspiring to present a situation of division in the party in Lagos but let me assure you that it is just the coming together of adversaries which will have no effect on the party.”
Governor Ambode lauded Asiwaju Tinubu for his contributions towards deepening of democracy in the country. He added: “What we have just witnessed in the last 30 minutes is the upliftment of democracy in Nigeria. This is a silent revolution and we thank Asiwaju for his commitment in the quest to build a better Nigeria. This means each member of the party will contribute his quota to determine who will represent them.”
The chapter passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole with a voice vote, after Lagos APC Chairman Mr. Tunde Balogun, tabled the motion.