Buhari’s Supporters Storm APC Headquarters, Demand Adoption Of Direct Primaries

As governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) battle the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) over its mode of primaries, a pro-Buhari group stormed the national secretariat of the APC on Monday demanding unlimited application of the decision of NEC.

The group, Grassroots Mobilisation for PMB/Osinbajo, said they were at the secretariat to register their anger against some of the APC governors and some members of the NWC opposed to the use of direct primaries.

Recall that the APC had been divided over the use of direct or indirect primaries as allowed by the constitution of the party.

At the weekend, the governors mobilised all 37 state chairmen of the party to further agitate their preference for indirect primaries at the state levels.

Yusuf Musa Ardo, Spokesman of the group, said the position taken by the governors ran counter to the change agenda of the APC, pointing out that indirect primaries would continue the corruption and manipulation that the party was seeking to eradicate.

Ardo, who is Director, Contact and Mobilisation of the support group, said they were fully in support of the use of direct primaries as it would return power to members of the party.

“Actually, we are not happy with the position of some of the governors and some of the National Working Committee. We are in support of direct primaries, power go back to the masses.

“We are tired of corruption and manipulation. They have been manipulating Nigerians and the masses; we cannot continue to support that idea.

“We are willing and ready to mobilise across the states to mount all the party’s secretariats and Government Houses of APC to make sure that anybody against direct primaries is not a real APC member.

“We are a popular party, a change agent that must definitely support a new vision and a new pattern of politics. We must, as a popular party, support direct primaries.

“We don’t know the reason behind the opposition of direct primaries by the APC governors, we are saying no to indirect primaries and we are saying that direct primaries must take place.

“We are in support of Mr. President and the National Chairman of the party, the able, the powerful Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the game changer, the master of politics in Nigeria, we are in support of direct primaries.

“That’s why we are here with our supporters and able chairman, Ambassador Hajia Fatimah Goni, and every other executive,” he said.

The group was received by Abbas Braimah, Chief of Staff to Oshiomhole who promised to deliver the message of the group.

“I welcome you all to the APC national headquarters, which is your home. I believe the petition you have written to us has been received.

“I want to assure each and every one of you that the new leadership, management of the party, is going to be responsible and responsive to the needs and aspirations of all members of this party.

“As you know, just like the national chairman has said, politics is a vehicle of development and empowerment and people are the subject and object of that development.

“So, whatever we do here must be people-centered; that is why the new leadership of the party has decided to do whatever is best for the party.

“Like you said, the party has large followers and, by the special grace of God, we would win the election because this is not only the largest party in Africa, not only the biggest party, but almost the most organised party in Africa and, with your support, because I can tell you the new leadership is ready to engage Nigerians, we are ready to sell this party.

“And I can tell you, our candidate is the most sellable candidate. I thank you for the support you have shown to the National Chairman, NWC, Mr. President, I want to tell you, we are on the same page,” Braimah said.

It would be recalled that governors elected on the platform of APC had tried to blackmail Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman, and other members of the party into adopting indirect primaries to pick candidates for the party at the state level.

There had been confusion regarding the true position of the party on the selection process after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last Thursday.

Briefing correspondents after the NEC meeting, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Yahaya Bello of Kogi had said that the NEC adopted direct primary option to choose its presidential candidate for the 2019 election while adopting the indirect primary for the other elective positions.

However, less than 24 hours after, the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena, issued a statement that countered the position of the governors.

Nabena said the party had adopted the direct primary option for all elective positions.

APC NWC May Consider Review Of Nomination Fees

Meanwhile, the NWC of the ruling APC went into a marathon meeting on Monday to discuss critical issues relating to its preparations for the 2019 polls.

The meeting, chaired by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s National Chairman, according to credible sources, was convened to discuss the schedule of the party’s primaries and the cost of Expression of Interest and Nomination fees which has been causing rancour in the party.

There have been cries of outrage in the party over the cost of the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms which a lot of aspirants described as outrageous.

The NWC, it was gathered, had proposed N55 million as the cost of the nomination and expression of interest forms for the office of President, which is way higher than the N12 million being charged by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A source also said President Muhammadu Buhari had complained to the party leadership that, as a salary earner, he couldn’t afford the fees which was in sharp contrast to the N27 million he paid in 2014.

Also, those seeking the party’s nod to contest the state Houses of Assembly elections are asked to pay N1.1 million as against PDP’s N600,000, while for the House of Representatives, APC aspirants are asked to pay N3.8 million. The PDP is asking its aspirants to pay 1.5 million.

For those seeking to go to the Senate, APC aspirants are to pay N8.5 million as against the N3.5 million the PDP is asking from its aspirants for the same position.

Governorship aspirants of the ruling party are asked to pay N22.5 million each to contest the ticket as against the N6 million to be paid by their counterparts in the PDP.

Our source said Monday’s meeting was called primarily to seek a downward review of the fees.

“Monday’s meeting was called to look at the schedule of the primaries. It wasn’t discussed during the NEC meeting because it is the responsibility of the National Working Committee to arrange the dates.

“They also discussed the issue of the Expression of Interest and Nomination fees. They are trying to fix amounts that will not be too high for members to pay.

“Members are complaining that the fees are too high. Though they have not made it official or decided on the amount, but some members are already complaining, with some already talking of defecting.”

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