• Adopts direct primaries, compels aspirants to sign compulsory undertaking to stop litigation, rancour

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has defended its decision to trim down the number of aspirants jostling to obtain expression of interest and nomination forms for the Edo governorship election, claiming that it prioritised the unity in the party in the state to the financial reward accruing to the party.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Duru Meseko, made the disclosure while addressing newsmen on the resolutions reached between members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and Edo State stakeholders on Monday night.

He said that it is part of the measures by the national leadership to ensure that it approached the governorship election as a united house and family.

The APC deputy spokesperson also revealed that part of the measures to restore sanity and avert possibility of aggrieved persons instituting any form of post-primary litigation in court of law is to compel the aspirants to sign undertaking not to take such action.

Reeling out the resolutions taken by the NWC during the Monday night meeting, Meseko said: “After due consultations with Edo State APC stakeholders, the NWC has approved direct primaries as the mode of election to be used to produce the governorship candidate of the party for the state.

“In view of the large numbers of aspirants jostling for the party’s ticket in Edo State, the NWC urged the stakeholders to unite in trimming the number of aspirants. The NWC urged all the governorship aspirants to exhibit party discipline and patriotism by shunning the attitude of running to the courts at every opportunity instead of exploring internal dispute resolution mechanisms, especially after party primaries.

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“It was resolved that for the smooth running of the party, all members should ensure strict compliance with their financial obligations to the party, in line with the party’s Constitution. The NWC also resolved that for want of time, the e-registration exercise of the party for fresh members be conducted after the primaries in order not to derail the smooth conduct of the primaries.

“The NWC urged the stakeholders to promote unity within the ranks of the party in order to go into the election as one family bound by progressive ideals and fully geared to reclaim the party’s mandate in Edo State,” he disclosed.

Asked why the party decided to trim the number of aspirants that will generate money into its coffers, he said; “it is not as if the party doesn’t want money. Of course, you know, by the time 29 aspirants purchase forms at the cost of N50 million that will be billions, maybe over N1.4 billion, N2 billions or there about.

“But you see, the money for us is not the case now, we want the party to go into the election as one family. You recall that Edo State was an APC state, and we will want to reclaim the state back, we will not want any situation of rancour.

“For emphasis sake, assuming we have two or three aspirants now, and we have adopted direct primaries, you know for 29 aspirants the logistics and the whole other things will be a bit rancorous.

“But that is if we are able to do that, that is also if the party is forcing its will on members. Of course, if we are unable to trim down then, the whole 29 or more will go into the primaries and at least only one candidate will emerge at the end of the day,” he quipped.

On the measures to check incidence of aggrieved aspirants taking legal action, the party’s deputy spokesperson said: “The NWC resolved during the stakeholders meeting on Monday, along with the stakeholders, that there is going to be a form that will be attached to the main forms that will be purchased, where aspirants will commit to going into some form of undertakings in that line.”