Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo state has said that the National Working Committee (NWC) of his party the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) cannot unilaterally decide the type of primaries that will be used to select the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the upcoming election.
Mr Obaseki, who is embroiled in a bitter political fight with Adams Oshiomhole, his predecessor and current National Chairman of the APC said that the local chapter of the party is the only organ statutorily empowered to make a decision on the nature of the primaries to be adopted by the APC. The primary has been scheduled to hold next month, with the governorship poll fixed for September.
While the APC’s NWC controlled by Adams Oshiomhole has directed the party to organise direct primaries, has ordered direct primaries, Mr Obaseki and his allies, including the party’s state chairman Anselm Ojezua, favour the indirect primary system.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson Crusoe Osagie on Friday, Mr Obaseki said that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) could not take any decisions related to the state primaries without recourse to the APC’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
The statement read: “That report was a scoop, there was no meeting of the NWC in which the decision was taken. If the Oshiomhole camp is having it at the back of their minds that it is what they want to do, they don’t have the power to do that.
“The power to direct what kind of primary to do rests on NEC and NEC at the last meeting decided that because of the dissenting voices, all modes of primary should be decided by the different state chapters as it was done in Kogi and Bayelsa. In Kogi, for example, they determined the kind of primary they wanted, and in Bayelsa, the same thing happened.
“So, in Edo, the same method will be adopted, according to the rules of NEC. We will now write the NWC to say this is the mode of primary that we want.”
The primary system to be used in selecting the party’s candidate in the next election has become a thorny issue within the APC especially since the party has split into two factions, one loyal to Mr Obaseki while the other is aligned with Mr Oshiomhole. Party insiders believe that Mr Oshiomhole favours the candidature of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a popular politician who recently defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition party.