Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, has said that conducting direct primaries to pick the party’s Federal Capital Territory Senatorial candidate for 2019 election is not negotiable.
Oshiomhole stated this on Thursday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen after a closed door meeting with governors on the party’s platform.
He, however, said that the challenges that followed the party’s recent primaries in some states of the federation were normal in a democracy and in a vibrant party such as the APC.
He said: “For the FCT, I think there are some elements who believe they can hijack the process and impose their personal preferences on the people.
“We are trying to clean up our party’s internal democracy and eliminate corruption as much as we can from the process and empower our party members to have a say and a decisive voice on who represents them or flies the party’s flag.
“FCT is the capital of Nigeria, if we cannot do transparent election in FCT, then for me, it will be a sad day.
“We are trying to encourage democracy and if they don’t want democracy, they will have to look for ways of living outside the democratic space.”
He added that the APC was determined to enforce the rules of democracy in the FCT, saying that those protesting against the adoption of direct primaries were sponsored and were only wasting their time.
He added that he took on the APC chairmanship position to deepen the core values of democracy which included popular participation and giving everyone a sense of ownership.
The APC national chairman stressed that FCT would have to do direct primary, saying: “I have told the committee to go back and call the stakeholders”.
He added: “By tomorrow morning, they will have to conduct free, fair and transparent direct primary in the FCT. This is not negotiable.
“Those aspirants who are looking for short cut should know that there is no short cut to democratic process.
“If you cannot withstand the rigour of communication, persuading and earning the trust and respect of the ordinary member of the APC in the FCT, maybe APC should not be your party.”
Oshiomhole maintained that the APC under his leadership was committed to popular participation.
He also spoke on the Zamfara botched election, saying that reports available to the party’s leadership suggested that the process was botched and materials snatched.
He also said that the results of the primaries were taken to unauthorised places.
He said: “The panel we sent there has come to explain in unison what transpired. It is unfortunate that many people choose to opt for violence.
“But I am happy that the panel refused to compromise and stood their ground, even in the face of intimidation.
“We are going to conduct free, fair primary in Zamfara. This process has to be done according to the rules and regulations of the APC.”
The chairman that the primaries would be done by the electoral body and not by the State Government or agents.
Oshiomhole, however, added that every member of the party in Zamfara had a right to vote for any aspirant of their choice which must be respected by the party’s National Working Committee.
He said: “No amount of blackmail will make us to abandon that. That is the right thing to do, my mandate as chairman of the APC is to be faithful to our Constitution.
“I swore to an oath of office to be just to every member of the APC, for me, this oath of office is meant to be obeyed.”
He added that a fresh committee would be set up to conduct the Zamfara primaries, saying that any election that was not conducted in accordance with the guideline would not be accepted.
Oshiomhole added: “When we say direct primary, we mean direct primary.”