The ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), has insisted its state chapters have the free will to adopt direct or indirect primaries.
The position comes with a caveat – that the process must be transparent.
The national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, made this known after a meeting with APC governors at Imo State governor’s lodge in Abuja, Wednesday night.
This came as a group of aspirants in Edo State rejected moves by the state executive of the party to adopt the consensus option in granting automatic return tickets to some serving federal and state lawmakers.
The party had, last month, given its state chapters the prerogative to adopt either direct or indirect primaries subject to ratification at the national level.
Throwing the options open has, however, been met with stiff criticisms from some party members, mostly lawmakers, who feel state governors would scheme them out of the return race with loyal delegates.
Mr. Oshiomole said, “I think my task and the task of the party is clear. We have a tradition as a progressive party, to submit ourselves to the dictates of our party and we believe in internal democracy because we are democrats and democracy must begin from within the house before we can do it outside.
“That is why, like governor Rochas Okorocha said, we are committed to transparent primaries and ensure that everyone who has interest in our party is happy.
“We are happy at the level of enthusiasm, measured by the number of persons who have applied for various positions, it shows a huge number of Nigerians still prefer the All Progressives Congress as a more credible platform to contest.
“Our task is very simple, obey the rules of the party, obey the rules of fairness, obey the rules of natural justice and that is what we mean when we talk about free and fair primaries.
“Secondly, we have spoken on this before. It is not a new decision that our constitution consciously provided for flexibility. First, to reflect the diversity of our great country and also to try to give expression to the entire essence of federalism which allows different states to look at their own situation and advise the NWC as to what works better for them, provided that in all cases, the process is democratic, the rules are fair, the officiating officials are impartial.
“All of us, governors, NWC and even (the) president, agreed that this is the way to go and that is what we are going to do.”
The party primaries are slated to hold on coming weeks.