Indirect Primary: Crisis Deepens In Kogi APC As Buhari Meets NWC Today

President Muhammadu Buhari will today meet with the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the crisis that has trailed its adoption of indirect primary ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.

Akelicious gathered that since the announcement was made in July, there has been series of protests by aggrieved aspirants and other stakeholders who said the direct primary was the best approach to pick the party’s flag bearer in the governorship primary slated for August 29.

The development has also divided the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC with some of the members asking the party leadership to reverse the decision and allow the party members in Kogi elect their candidate, rather than leaving it to some delegates.

Our source, a member of the NWC, said at the end of the meeting with President Buhari, the NWC would decide on whether to adopt the indirect primary method or bow to the wishes of the majority of the aspirants by reversing it.

“At the end of the meeting with the president today, it will be decided whether we will stick with the adoption of indirect primary or reverse it. But from what I know, the national chairman of the party is doing everything possible to avoid a repeat of the Zamfara scenario,” the source said.

Some stakeholders of the APC in Kogi State have also sued the NWC, saying the party may be heading for the Zamfara experience if it was not reversed.

In the originating summons filed by their lawyer, Oluwole Aladedoye, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the plaintiffs are asking the court to halt the indirect primary proposed by the NWC.

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The plaintiffs, who are members of the Haddy Ametuo-led faction, are ex-officio, Destiny Eneojoh Aromeh; Organising Secretary, Isah Abubakar; Zonal Youth Leader, Noah Aku, and Zonal Women Leader, Joy Onu.

The stakeholders, in the notification of the suit sent to the APC National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala, prayed him to advise the party on the need to respect court processes and halt any action on the proposed indirect mode of the primary.

Among issues formulated for determination are whether, having regard to the pendency of the suit filed by Haddy Ametuo, Salam Adejoh (suing for themselves and on behalf of other members) of the SEC elected on May 19, 2018, the APC could adopt the indirect primary option.

Whether the involvement of persons claiming to be members of the Kogi SEC during the pendency of the suit in the nomination of the governorship candidate would not amount to interference with the judicial process and run against the principle of sub judice which would render the outcome of such primary illegal, null and void.

Whether the defendant could ignore the suit which sought to determine the authentic members of the Kogi SEC who constituted the delegates by adopting the indirect mode of primary.

Whether it was not an act of disrespect for judicial processes for the defendant to adopt the indirect mode of primary in nominating its governorship candidate having been made a party to the suit, which seeks to determine the authentic members of the Kogi SEC, who will constitute the bulk of the delegates to participate in the indirect primary mode for the nomination of the governorship candidate.

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A copy of the letter sighted by our correspondent reads: “Notification of suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/833/2019 – Destiny Enejoh Aromeh & ORS VS All Progressives Congress: Need to Halt the Indirect Primary Proposed for Nomination of Candidate for Kogi State.”

“We are counsel to the plaintiffs in the above matter, which has just been filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, today. We are by this letter forwarding to you a filed copy of the originating summons filed by our clients. This summons speaks for itself.

“We trust that as a seasoned legal practitioner with several years of active legal practice, you will appropriately advise your party on the need to respect court processes and halt any action on the proposed indirect mode of primary for nomination of the governorship candidate for Kogi State in the forthcoming election pending the determination of this suit.”

Speaking with our correspondent, Timothy Faniyan, a chieftain of the party in the state, said: “There are two parallel excos in Kogi APC, one faction has gone to court to be recognised as the authentic exco, so by law it will not be advisable to use any of the exco for the primary election.

“We want Nigerians to know there is a case in court and the APC cannot go ahead and do indirect primaries as the party constitution unequivocally states that direct primaries will be held in any state there is dissension or factional excos. But from the look of things, APC is heading towards the same thing that happened in Zamfara.”

Also speaking with our correspondent, Mohammed Audu, one of the frontline governorship aspirants said the Kogi State government, led by Governor Yahaya Bello is afraid of direct primaries because he is not popular among APC members in the state.

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Audu, who is the eldest son of Prince Abubakar Audu, a former governor of the state, said Governor Bello was jittery because if there was a direct primary where every member of Kogi APC would be allowed to participate, the governor cannot secure the party’s ticket for the election.

“I personally, I think that the present government is afraid of opening the process of selection and that is why they have chosen to go by the way of indirect primary.

“The indirect primary is closed. If you are a politician and a true democrat, you will want everyone to participate in the process of selecting you, and I dare the government to say they are going by the way of direct primary today; I am sure they will bid the people farewell.

“If they do direct primary that every Kogi person that is a member of the APC is allowed to participate, no doubt we will come tops.

“Direct primary or indirect primary, it is the people of Kogi that will vote in the general election, but in the case of the indirect primary, you have a chosen few in the process of selecting the party executive positions. The governor will select his family and friends, the appointees will select their family, members, and friends and thereby give them an undue advantage.

“What we are saying is, open it up for everybody; let the man that sells kolanut vote, let the maisuya vote, and then we will know who will win,” he said.

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