… accuses Amosun and others of resulting to self-help
The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, has stated that the ruling party allowed democracy to prevail over the will of individual contenders in the last primaries.
Issa-Onilu who made this known in Abuja during an interview with journalists at the APC National Secretariat said that the outburst by the Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, was about his quest to pick the Senatorial ticket of his constituency and that is about ambition.
According to Issa-Onilu, when that does not happen he has a right to ventilate his anger and it is for the party to also listen to him.
He noted that the DG VON, could have gone overboard making all sorts of unfounded allegations but you one also has to understand the situation that he is in now, he lost out.
If that same process had favoured Okechukwu, the APC spokesperson averred that he would be in his office “in an air-conditioned atmosphere drinking coffee and taking a laugh at whoever was complaining but that didn’t happen so you would expect him to complain”.
The APC further explained that in the case of Kaduna state, the party tried to protect members in the National Assembly for obvious reasons following what has been going on at the National Assembly.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that we have a grip on the legislative arm of government so that we can run a smooth government. So we tried to protect our legislators. But the other people can only understand and accept that”, he said.
On the issues of the Zamfara state crisis, he informed that the party submitted list of candidates for legislative elections in the state, and if INEC did not take it, it is a different thing, as INEC cannot disqualify candidates.
However, the party leadership said that the Supreme Court ruling on the Rivers APC governorship primaries has been subjected to different interpretations.
As at the time of filing this report, he said that the party has not yet taken a position on the ruling as its legal department was looking into it and do what is right on it.
On the Imo state primaries, the party said that the issue of submission of governorship candidates to INEC falls due on November 2, 2018, as such; there was no need to rush submission of names.
The party however accused the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of resulting to self-help when he gathered some aspirants, stakeholders and said clearly, there won’t be primaries and right there he pointed at who the next Governor, Senator, House of Representatives candidates would be.
He named himself the next Senatorial candidate.
“In the case of Ogun, after that exercise failed, they tried to handpick who will be what; they sent a letter that they have agreed on direct primary and the party has no choice than to endorse what you want.
“On the day they all came for screening including the governor, he suddenly left with other aspirants and returned back to Abeokuta; gathered some people and sent back to the NWC that they wanted indirect primary and the other aspirants said we were all here together, that they didn’t know when this change was made.
“Meanwhile, someone had gone to court and the court had barred the State executive from anything to do with the party but we all saw on national television where the State Governor and the State executive, actually conducted their own primary and the process threw up the Governor’s preferred candidate. it was the SSG in Ogun State, who was reading the result until it occurred to him that he had no power to announce the names, so he handed over to the state chairman of the party who also shouldn’t have done that – he is statutory barred, the court had told him not to participate in the primary. Secondly, the state chairman has no power to conduct primary that power resides with the NWC.
“So whatever the governor did was self-help and there is no provision for self-help in the party’s constitution. Eventually the NWC panel that was constituted to conduct the primary went to Abeokuta and did the primary. The governor’s preferred candidate chose not to participate in that exercise. So the party stands by the result of that primary it conducted in Ogun state.
“The governor has done his best to get validation for his self-help. That is not possible. The first thing he did was to start saying things that made it look like something wrong has happened when nothing of such has happened.
“Secondly, he took some monarchs to meet the president. I am surprised because someone like him, with due respect to him should have understood the nature of the president we have, that no matter how close you are to him, he will listen to you but he will ask for the rules to be followed”.