By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Charles Kumolu & Daud Olatunji
How Amosun’s consensus candidate emerged in Ogun
All Progressives Congress, APC, governors bidding to use the indirect or consensus options in producing party candidates were, yesterday, coming under fresh threats with the injunction that a protest from any stakeholder or aspirant will lead to the cancellation of the exercise and resort to direct primary.
The seeming opposition by the governors to the direct primary option, Vanguard gathered, yesterday, was a significant reason for the high price placed on the nomination forms of the party.
The governors, it was gathered, had as a result of the rebuff of their pleas for indirect primaries, chosen not to fund the direct primary, a development that has compelled the national secretariat to mobilise funds from the sale of the forms to fund the direct primary option.
“Anywhere they do indirect or consensus, and one of the aspirants or any of the stakeholders complain, that exercise would be cancelled, and the national headquarters will send people to go and do direct primaries,” a high-level source in the national party secretariat spoke yesterday.
Asked of the party’s capacity to conduct direct primaries in the light of the logistics involved in gathering party members to meet at ward levels to choose their candidates, the source said: “That is part of the reasons the prices of nomination forms are high because we want to raise money from the proceeds of the sale of the forms to fund the direct primaries.
“The governors, who were supposed to fund the direct primaries are the ones complaining. So, their strategy is to stop funding for the party as they are already saying that they don’t have money for it.”
How Amosun’s preferred guber candidate emerged
Meanwhile, in a near raucous democratic consensus exercise in Ogun State, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency, Abdulkabir Akinlade, emerged as the putative consensus nominee of the party.
The exercise was supervised by Governor Ibikunle Amosun and Ogun West elders of the party after hours of meeting in Ayetoro, Yewa North Local Government Area of the state, to pick the zone’s governorship candidate for the 2019 election.
Scores of aspirants from Ogun West had been desirous of succeeding Amosun on the platform of APC. Among the more prominent had been Speaker Suraj Adekunbi, Governor Amosun’s Chief of Staff, Tolu Odebiyi, Abiodun Isiaq Akinlade, Commissioner for Forestry, Kola Lawal, Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Rotimi Rahmon, and Abayomi Hunye.
Vanguard gathered that the long list of aspirants was trimmed to the duo of Odebiyi and Akinlade who made the final list.
The governor was, however, believed to have a preference for Akinlade and through his body language got him to be endorsed by the elders.
‘Convene NWC meeting on direct primaries, nomination forms’
Meanwhile, APC presidential aspirant, Mr. Adamu Garba II, has called on the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to urgently convene a National Working Committee, NWC, meeting with all presidential aspirants in attendance, in order to resolve contentious issues over direct primaries and prices of nomination forms.
He also dismissed fears trailing the adoption of direct primaries, saying it would promote the culture of inclusiveness in APC.
Adamu Garba II, in a letter to Oshiomhole, cautioned against practices that could exclude key stakeholders from party events leading to the general election.
He said: “We call on the National Working Committee, NWC, to rise to the occasion, by adopting direct primaries, which is the best democratic practice for all elective positions on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
“This will further enhance participation and promote inclusion within the rank and file of the APC. We have observed the recent speculative news on the prices of forms from the Presidency and we consider it to be a dent on the party’s effort to attract youth-inclusiveness. We humbly ask that the NWC reconsider and review this
“We request that all subsequent stakeholders’ meeting with the President in attendance to include all other aspirants, who have publicly declared their intention to run for the office of the President on the platform of the APC.
“It is very important for the NWC to provide a level playing field for all aspirants in the race.
“The youth demography accounts for over 65 percent of the electorate and also constitutes the majority of the APC machinery. It will, therefore, be counterproductive for our party to have a disposition that does not accommodate the interest and aspirations of young stakeholders within the APC.’’