Some All Progressives Congress (APC) senators are reportedly threatening to dump the ruling party if it fails to adopt direct primaries for the 2019 elections.
According to Premium Times, some undisclosed lawmakers revealed that the party will experience massive defection if it fails to adopt direct primaries. They further noted that some governors are pressuring the national leadership of the APC to adopt the indirect primaries ahead of 2019.
The indirect primaries will involve the use of delegates (party leaders, political appointees, and elected officials at local and state levels) to elect party candidates. While the direct primaries is the participation of all party members in the selection of candidates.
The direct primary option will favour lawmakers (like the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna State and others) who currently are not in good relationship with their state governors.
The senators warned that if APC chooses the indirect primary option, it will lose its majority status in the Senate and consequently lose the chance of reclaiming the leadership of the senate.
Senator Shehu Sani in his own statement noted that indirect primaries will only systematically desecrate the anti-corruption crusade of the current government. He further urged all members of the party to reject indirect primaries, saying it is the final step to consolidate a fraudulent congresses.
“Indirect Primaries is a boulevard to corruption. It’s a seed to imposition, manipulation and systematic desecration of the anti-corruption crusade of the government and the party.
“Indirect Primaries is a bidding process, a slave market and an auction house where price tag is placed to honour,” Senator Sani noted.
Premium Times reported that 3 undisclosed senators noted that if the indirect option is adopted by the APC, then the party should prepare itself for mass defection.
“I am aware the National Chairman and members of the NWC are under pressure from state governors to adopt indirect primaries. Most of us suffered injustice during the Congress. Till this moment, the leadership is yet to resolve the issues. We will not tolerate injustice again.
“For me, the next NEC meeting is a make or mar meeting for our party. The APC has assured us of justice through direct primaries. If the party bows to governors, we will have no option than to leave the party. It will be mass exodus,” one of the senator told PT.
Another senator said that state governors are ready to replace up to 90% of federal lawmakers if APC allows delegates to choose candidates ahead of 2019.
“With the war that exists between the party and Saraki, the party has confidentially resolved to return the senators because it is dangerous to come back on 25th when some people don’t have assurances.
“The governors have their individual agenda because the people whom they want cannot win election by direct primaries. If you cannot win by direct primary, it means that you are unpopular and the party cannot bring people who cannot win election.
“The party will be heading into trouble because it will be the Senate Presidency that will be at stake at the National Assembly. The point is that if you have an indirect primary election, the governors will replace up to 90 per cent of existing federal legislatures. Now, that will be playing into the hands of the PDP,” the lawmaker warned.
“The moment the Senate resumes, the conflicting figure we have now is that PDP are saying they are the majority, APC are saying they are the majority, what do you take for consideration? We have up 20, 30 APC senators without a ticket and they have nothing to lose (if they leave the party).
“Let us get there first, because we were kept in the party on the promise that it is going to be a direct primaries. If the party says Saraki must go, who is going to remove Saraki, is it the governors? We are in a tango. The governors must concede, they must keep their heads down.
“We’ll see what happens but I can tell you that the Saraki group are waiting for those eliminated in the APC to join them.”
Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of APC, had before the Osun State APC Governorship primary election, declared that the party would adopt direct primary option, saying that it remains the most democratic way of handling the primary.
The direct primary option was consequently used in Osun State which produced, Gboyega Oyetola, as the APC candidate for the forthcoming Osun Governorship election.
The Deputy Speaker of the National House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf, who finished second in the Osun State APC Primary, however condemned the method, saying that Oshiomhole will destroy the APC.
“I did not accept the outcome of the primary election. Why would I accept that kind of primary, where a direct primary was conducted in my state, one week after another form of primary was conducted in another state.
“And I hope the chairman will wake up. That chairman is going to destroy that party. The chairman of that party is going to destroy it,” Mr. Yusuf said.
The APC in July lost about 15 senators including the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and over 30 members of the House to opposition parties. Many of the lawmakers who dumped the APC moved to the strongest opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).