The main issue discussed at an expanded meeting of the Tripartite Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday was the mode of primaries to be adopted by the party for elections.
This followed the passage by the National Assembly of a bill mandating all political parties to adopt direct primaries in choosing their candidates for elections.
Delivers on its promises
President Muhammadu Buhari set up the Tripartite Committee of the Executive, the Legislature and the party to seek ways of resolving thorny issues to ensure that the party delivers on its promises to the people.
Tuesday’s meeting, held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Senator Adamu Aliero, representing Kebbi Central in National Assembly, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting, said that the legislators insisted on direct primaries for the party’s aspirants in elections.
“We made it clear that we stand on the legislation passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and it is irreversible; we have concluded that the law stands.
“We are returning the party back to the people; that is, conducting direct primaries.
We believe that is the only way to ensure internal democracy within the APC.
“The conduct of the congresses right from the ward level up to the state level was being hijacked by the governors.
“We felt as a remedy to this, in order to save our party, it is better we adopt direct primaries.
This is the only way the party can survive and face other parties that will contest with the APC,”he stated.
According to Aliero, the decision on direct primaries has gone well with the party’s members at the grassroots and accepted by all members of the National Assembly.
“We have respect for the governors; we have respect for members of the executive and we have always done their bidding but this time around we want direct primaries to stay.
No member of the NASS has said no to this.
“I’m happy that the conference committee report was passed today in the two chambers of the NASS.
Both in the Senate and the House of Representatives, it has been widely accepted.
“This decision on direct primaries has gone very well with people at the grassroots.
They felt that it is the best thing that can happen to our democracy.
“From 1999 to date, the only decision that has been taken by the NASS that is as popular as this one was when the third term was annulled.
“This decision on direct primaries is equivalent to what the 6th Assembly did on the annulment of the 3rd Term bid by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
However, Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, who also spoke to the media, said that the only concern expressed at the meeting over the decision of the National Assembly was “the implication of having only one option” for the party to choose its flag bearers.
“In case an option fails, what happens? If, for instance, INEC sets a date for an election and say it is sacrosanct.
“For instance, today is Sept.
9; if INEC is supposed to conduct election today and it says that day is sacrosanct; under no circumstance should it be shifted; and a circumstance beyond your control arises, what do you do?
“It means there will be no election; then, you are calling for anarchy; that is just the only concern of our people; and I think we are taking that head on and I think we are going to be good for whatever decision that will be taken at the end of the day.
“I belong to the executive arm of the government; and that is legislature; that is what they are elected to do; and nobody is going to meddle into the affairs of the legislature to arm-twist them or muscle whatever decision that want to take.
“So, whatever decision they have taken, they might have taken it in the best interest of the people and so be it.
“In their own wisdom, they may have seen that there can’t be any situation that will warrant any other option and they may have come with this option of direct primaries.
Governor Bello said that legislations passed by the National Assemby and signed by the president are binding on all citizens.
“For now, this is a bill that was passed; yet to be signed into law; so, we are waiting for the leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari, to come; once he assents to it, then we are going to make sure it works.
“If he does not, then it returns to the National Assembly for whatever action that can be taken and if it is returned to the National Assembly, it won’t be the first of such bill that will be returned back to the National Assembly.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and some members of the National Assembly Caucus of the APC, attended the meeting.
The Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and Chairman of the APC Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, also attended the meeting.
APC Leaders Meet, Discuss Party Primaries