Apparently to avoid a repeat of the party’s electoral loss in Bayelsa state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has resolved to be very strict in the choice of candidates to fly its flags in any future election in Nigeria.
Also, the party has confirmed that three candidates are set to contest APC primary which has been slated for June 22 in line with the provisions of the party Constitution.
This was disclosed on Monday by APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole during a lengthy interview with State House Correspondent at Presidential Villa Abuja.
“We’ve gone a long way: we’ve advertised the timetable, there was the stage of collection of forms and about six people collected forms. In that time table we also provided for screening and we also provided for appeals arising from the screening.
This is standard practice that the NWC has adopted since 2015 and in the case of Edo, we have completed the process of selling forms, we have also completed the process of screening, we have completed the process of appeals arising from the screening by those who wish to take advantage and the NWC has met and has reviewed the report of the screening committee and we were unanimous that the screening was thoroughly done and found that three people were eligible to contest, with regards to the provisions of our Constitution.
We have these three gentlemen on parade to contest to contest the primaries, which has been slated for the 22nd of June, in line with the provisions of our Constitution, we will do direct primaries. It’s more democratic, less susceptible to corrupt practices and it makes the party to be membership driven.
It’s always for me something interesting that after you have picked your candidate by a handful of elites, you’ll now organise a rally to introduce to the members who is going to contest an election. They are supposed to bring the members to us and we can only achieve that through direct primaries.
So we are doing everything possible, having completed the issue of screening and we have upheld the result of the screening committee, we are proceeding now to conduct the primaries, God willing, on the 22nd of June in Edo State.
One person appealed his disqualification and he had ample opportunity to approach the Appeal Committee and even with the benefit of coming with his lawyer because this time, because of what happened in Bayelsa, we have decided that we have to be very strict. There are always two issues that lead to disqualification after elections, as you saw in Bayelsa, we won the election, but for technical reasons, we lost it at the Supreme Court.
We have decided we should look at the composition of the committee, we have very senior lawyers, professors of law, we have various professors who should be familiar with the issues of certificate, because those are always the booby traps; whether there are impunities or contradictions or forged documents.
Then we have lawyers who have handled election tribunal, they know the issues that people can raise, once you have filed your nomination because the courts have said INEC cannot screen candidates, the power to screen candidates, it’s exclusively part of the party. So if the party mismanaged the process and they produce someone who has a fake certificate or multiple age or issues of spelling, those lawyers know what can lead to disqualification.
So we have confidence in the report they gave us, but in line with our democratic practice and as stated in our Constitution, they also had an opportunity to make an appeal and that opportunity was provided. One of them took advantage of it, unfortunately he wasn’t successful. The appeal panel still reaffirmed the findings of the lower party.
We are getting ready for the primary on the 22nd and we pray that God will preside over the exercise, it will be free fair and transparent and we’ll have a candidate that can unify the party in state.