By Omeiza Ajayi
National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has insisted that the party would go ahead with the direct method of voting during its June 22 Governorship primary election in Edo State.
Oshiomhole spoke on Monday shortly after a closed-door meeting with seven governors of the party, an action party sources said was a continuation of efforts to resolve all disputes ahead of the forthcoming primary election of the party in Edo State.
The feud between the party chairman and the governor of his home state, Godwin Obaseki is threatening to rob the party of victory in the September polls as the APC which is now factionalized approaches its June 22 primary election in the state.
The governors were led to the meeting by the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum PGF, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state. Others who are at the meeting are Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq (Kwara) and Muhammed Inuwa (Gombe).
Some of the governors including Obaseki had on Sunday night reportedly met in Lagos with Sanwo-Olu and a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Aside Oshiomhole, the National Organizing Secretary of the party, Emma Ibediro, National Vice Chairman Northeast, Mustapha Salihu Acting National Secretary, Arc. Waziri Bulama and others are at the parley.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Oshiomhole said the party leadership had a “very helpful conversation” with the governors.
He said; “We had a very helpful conversation, you know it is one APC, there are no two APC, so interacting and interfacing with our Governors is something that is part of our tradition, it is not something we have just invented and today’s discussion was particularly helpful.
“So, we are very grateful to the chairman and members of the Progressive Governors Forum who have come all the way. What binds us together is so strong that Coronavirus can not put asunder”.
“We have since published our time table because under the law, we are required to give INEC at least 21 days notice to monitor our primaries and to State, the mode of our primaries and of course NWC had approved direct primaries for Edo. That of Ondo has not been discussed because that will come much later. Edo will come about three weeks before Ondo.
“We have commenced the sale of forms, and I think as of last Friday to my knowledge three people had picked the forms. I think by today more people have picked the forms. So we are selling forms to all those who wish to buy based on the guidelines and of course as the Chairman of the Progressives Governors rightly said, we have ensured in our letter to INEC and even this morning we had a virtual meeting with INEC leadership, and we will conduct primaries taking into account the protocols on COVID-19 by the PTF and NCDC. I think everything has been going fine.
“You know that governors are assets to our party and once a candidate emerges, we all work and ensure that we do our best to persuade the people in the respective States to favour us with their votes and I am sure that by the special grace of God, the Ondo Governor is here, he did well and the electorate are more sophisticated now; so we have no fear about that.
“Obaseki is not here but issues of primaries are well spelt out in our constitution and we are following it as strictly as possible. So nothing to worry about at all”.
Asked to confirm whether he had received a letter from the Edo governor stating his preference for Indirect Primary, Oshiomhole said; “You are speculating, I don’t have any letter or document to that effect. These are very formal matters. So, let us not spread rumours”.
Chairman of the PFG and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu said: “the meeting between the national leadership of our party with the Progressives Governors Forum was to discuss issues that have piled up especially between March 14th when the forum last met and agreed to meet with the national working committee under the able leadership of Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole to discuss issues of interest to our party”.
“Within the intervening period, many things have happened. We had a virtual conference where we commiserated with Mr President because of the challenges caused by the Covid-19 situation. We also undertook that the delegation will visit Lagos to express sympathies with the Lagos people and our colleague for the able leadership he has provided.
“We met with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and also met with our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to discuss the developments in the polity particularly as they affect our party. So, yes, a delegation was in Lagos but this meeting was not a continuation of yesterday’s (Lagos) meeting. This is a meeting with the national leadership of our party to discuss issues between the Governor’s Forum and party leadership that will lead to the progress of our party.
“On Edo, Ondo elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rolled out a time table and the national chairman is in a better position to speak on that”, he stated.