A faction of APC leaders in Ekiti state have cried out for direct primary voting instead of the delegate election considered most appropriate by the national leadership of the party.
In a statement on Wednesday, stakeholders of the party under the platform of Concerned APC Ekiti Chieftains said the wish of leaders in the south-west and majority of the aspirants must be respected.
Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the party; Segun Osoba, former governor of Ogun; and Bisi Akande, former governor of Osun, were among party leaders who met with aspirants in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement said 17 out of the 24 aspirants who attended Tuesday’s meeting opted for direct primary, wondering why the national working committee is not reasoning along that line.
“It may interest you to note that Ekiti Progressives in the APC are one, and are united in ensuring the basic tenets of democracy are upheld in our party despite the embarrassing and terrible situation we all witnessed at the attempted delegate primary held last Saturday in Ado Ekiti,” the statement read.
“We note with dismay the irregularities that preceded that exercise including shoddy arrangements by the organising 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 was selected as the preferred method by 17 of 24 Aspirants in attendance.
“Direct primaries indeed should be the preferred method for democratic leaning institutions like our party, for the following reasons.”
The stakeholders warned that delegate primary may produce the result of the last one and plunge the party into another crisis.
“The demand of Ekiti is direct primary as evidenced by the way the aspirants voted at the SW leaders caucus meeting,” he said.
“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.
“We enjoin the NWC to do the right thing and tow the path of honour and respect Ekiti for the collective benefit of our party. 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.”