By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said it is avoiding some contentious issues in the party in order not to throw itself into another round of crisis having just survived one in June this year.
Yobe state Governor and Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the party, Mai Mala Buni disclosed this on Friday while inaugurating the Ondo State Primary Election and Appeal Committees.
He however did not say what the contentious issues are but Vanguard recalls that the issue of tinkering with the zoning formula in the National Working Committee NWC of the party is seen as capable of threatening its fragile stability.
Buni’s disclosure came as the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello said it would be out of place for 11 of the 12 APC governorship aspirants in Ondo State to dictate to the party the mode of the primary election they want.
Bello who is the Chairman of the Primary Election Committee, however, added that his team would conduct a free, fair, and credible exercise, urging the aspirants not to be troubled.
He said the State Executive Committee of the party in Ondo had picked the indirect mode of primary and sent same to the recently dissolved National Working Committee NWC of the party for ratification.
“On the issue of the mode of primary, this has been settled by the previous NWC and ratified by NEC, which gives the opportunity to the state executive committee to choose the mode of primary that they would want.
“This has been settled. The Ondo Primary election would be conducted via indirect mode. This was the option chosen by the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC and ratified by the National Executive Committee NEC of our great party in the last meeting. So, we are going for indirect primary.
“The Executive Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello is in Ondo right now, mediating, and to ensure that there is peaceful coexistence and agreement on this mode of primary among the aspirants.
“But let me put it this way, from what I know about party politics especially in APC, I was once a contestant and I had opponents and from what I have come to realise, it is not within the purview of contestants to chose rules of engagement. We follow laid down rules and regulations of the party.
“As a member, we should abide by the rules and regulations, our party Constitution, the guidelines for the elections, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Electoral Act and every other rule that guides elections.
“So, it is like going into the general elections now and then APC will be dictating to INEC that this is the rule we want. I do not think it sounds very nicely but I know at the end of the day that every contestant in this election shall be treated fairly and credibly and we shall have a candidate that is going to be acceptable to all the contestants and the people of Ondo State and we shall come out victorious in the general elections.
“The responsibility before me now is to go and conduct free, fair and credible primary election for whoever is going to be the candidate of our party and I shall restrict myself to that, which means I will be guided by the Constitution of our party, the guidelines and all the laws that support the primary election.
“If free, fair and credible primary is conducted, every member of the party, those who contested and those who are not contesting including members and sympathisers of the party would support it to victory.
“I am very confident that we are going to win the general election by the grace of God. The task ahead of us is to go and conduct free and fair primary that every aspirant will be happy with and then join hands together for us to be victorious at the end of the day”.
Earlier while addressing the committees, Gov. Buni said three weeks ago when the Caretaker Committee assumed the leadership of APC, he had pledged to rescue, recover and rebuild a party based on new confidence of trust, fairness and equal opportunity to all.
“Since then, we have painstakingly taken some deliberate measures of true reconciliation and consultations to foster unity and strengthen the party. I am proud to state that these measures are now yielding fruitful results and, we are committed to build on these achievements.
‘The party is also carefully avoiding issues with the tendency of creating disaffection, animosity and division to reignite fresh crisis within its fold”, he said.
Buni added that as the APC starts preparations for the Ondo State Governorship Election, it has appointed reputable, credible and dependable Chairmen and Members for the Primary Election and Appeal Committees.
“I am convinced that these reliable ladies and gentlemen will be fair, transparent, impartial and upright to do justice to all the aspirants in the course of their assignments.
“As a party with great respect for internal democracy, we must appreciate and honour the popular choice for us to have a marketable candidate to be presented to the electorates during the election. There is no doubt; we are committed to renewing the mandate from the good people of Ondo State. I wish to caution our aspirants to respect the rules governing the party primary.
“The party is once again assuring you that it will remain fair and just to all and, as loyal party members, we expect you to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith.
“You should have control over your supporters against any act that is detrimental to the success of the exercise and, of breach to peace”, he added.
While Olorogun O’tega Emerhor will serve as Secretary of the primary election committee, other members are Alwan Hassan, Chief Samuel Sambo, Hajia Binta Salihu, Mr. Emma Andy, Dr. Adebayo Adelabu, Abdullahi Aliyu and Mrs. Margret Ngozi Igwe.
Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe will chair the Primary Election Appeal Committee while Arc. Abdulmumuni Okara would serve as Secretary of the appeal committee. Other members of the committee are Mr Festus Fientes, Mr. Okon Owoefiak, Mr. Abba Isah, Alh. Umar Duhu, Hon. Sani El-katuzu, Mrs Osuere Eunice, and Emeka Agaba.