By Yinka Ajayi
Fellow contenders for the All Progressives Congress, APC presidential ticket have faulted the primary.
The contenders under the aegis of the Coalition Of 2019 APC Presidential Aspirants in a statement made available to Vanguard yesterday, deposed that the party leadership collaborated to foist Buhari on the party without interrogating his capacity to fly the flag of the party.
The statement issued on behalf of the coalition by Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Alhaji Mumakai-Unagha said that “no attempt was made whatsoever to re-evaluate President Buhari’s qualifications, with special attention to his educational and other certificates, state of health, fidelity to the party as well as national principles in context of the Nigerian multiethnic state, and much more.”
While faulting the bar raised against them from participating, they said:
“Neither the Constitution of the Federal Republic nor the Constitution of the APC promotes prohibitive nomination fees, which the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Executive Committee is employing to exclude thousands of party faithful, particularly the youth and women, from exercising their right to seek public office.
“Neither the Constitution of the Federal Republic nor the Constitution of the APC recognizes the bogus clause, Right To First Refusal, which the party leadership assumed to sideline Buhari’s fellow aspirants from the presidential primary. It is also worthy of note that, while the idea of the “right to first refusal” is promoted for the executive office of the president, the opposite is the case for the executive offices of the governors where notable relatives of party leaders, including Buhari’s in-laws, are aspirants.”
Noting that they were not particularly against the person of the president but the process that brought him up, the coalition said:
“We must reposition the party as a model for true change. Therefore, this coalition is not against Mr. President as a person; we only demand that justice, equity and fair play should be the order of the day. To that end, we insist that the party should, as a matter of urgency, create the level playing ground for all aspirants to the various elective offices. We insist on a true presidential primary election where all the APC presidential aspirants are allowed the opportunity to participate.”
“We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to our teaming supporters; and other aspirants to various offices, especially the youth and women, who feel disenfranchised, to remain calm and law abiding. We hear you, the silent majority. We hear you, the Not-Too-Young-To-Run candidates who feel their hopes are being dashed. But be rest assured that we are committed to the founding principles of the APC, a progressive party. We are doing everything within the law to ensure equal opportunity for all members of our great party, as well as our fellow citizens, in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”