By Emmanuel Mogbede
In a shift from the delegate primary adopted in Ekiti State, the All Progressives Congress has said it will adopt the direct primary to pick its candidate for the September 22 Osun governorship election.
The direct primary will allow all card carrying members of the party to elect the party’s candidate, unlike the delegate system, which is often prone to corruption.
Party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole stated this on Monday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen after a closed door meeting with members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC). The direct primary on Thursday, will be the first to be held by any political party since the return of party politics in 1999.
Oshiomhole said that 17 aspirants who obtained the party’s Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to contest its ticket at its primary slated for Thursday, had all been screened and cleared.
According to him, the 17 aspirants are all competent to effectively govern the state.
“We do not lack competent hands to provide leadership in Osun after the exit of Gov. Rauf Aregbesola.
Oshiomhole added that though all the aspirants had been cleared, it is only one of them that would fly the party’s flag at the election.
“Regardless of who wins the primary, we hope that the rest of them will support the person to ensure that we do our best to retain the governance of Osun.
“We have decided that in order to ensure popular participation, and to deepen democracy in Osun State, in-line with the provision of our party constitution which allows for either direct or indirect primary, we have resolved that the governorship election primary in Osun state will be conducted on the basis of direct primary.
“What that means is that every card carrying member of our party will participate in the process of nominating the flag bearer of the party.
“This for us, is the most democratic way to conduct election and is in line with what our critical stakeholders from that part of the country wants and we are quite happy to oblige,” he said.
Oshiomhole further explained that the essence was to allow more party members to participate in the process of nominating candidates and to remove issues of corruption or monetising the processes.
He added that the direct primary would also give party members a sense of ownership of the outcome of the exercise.
He further added that the party leadership had constituted a panel to be chaired by Gov. Abudulazeez Yari of Zamfara to oversee the process.
Oshiomhole expressed optimism that Yari, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) could not be compromised.
“He will be assisted by four others who will work with him to ensure that this direct primary is conducted in a hitch free manner, “Oshiomhole said.
He condemned the recent killings in Sokoto state and other parts of the country, describing it as unfortunate, adding that the party was worried about the development.
Oshiomhole added that the party’s preliminary investigations showed that those affected in the Sokoto killings were from a part of the state that could be said to be quite rural and probably a place where people don’t even have cattle.
“All they have is just their farm land. These killings, like other killings across the country are condemnable and the NWC condemn them in the strongest words possible.
“We believe that every Nigerian, regardless of his location has a right to life. We admit that the minimum obligation of government is to protect lives and property.
“We therefore, urge our security chiefs to do everything possible not only to arrest all those involved in these killings, but to do everything possible to be seen to have the competence to protect lives and property.
“No one will be satisfied with making explanations or try to explain why we cannot secure human lives, especially of a Nigerian citizen within the borders of the country.
“This is the only country we have and so, we must do everything to give every Nigerian a sense of security regardless of his accident of birth place,”he said.