By Jethro Ibileke
A social-cultural group, Edo Unity League (EUL), has declared that the constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC), does not give unilateral power to the National Working Committee of the party, to fixed primary elections.
This is even as chairmen of the APC in 18 local government areas of the state, threw their weight behind Governor Godwin Obaseki’s preference for indirect primary election method.
The NWC of the party had adopted direct primary method, against the state leadership of the party and the state Governor Goodwin Obaseki’s choice of indirect primary, to elect the candidate to fly its flag in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
But the EUL insisted that NWC needs ratification of such decision from National Executive Council (NEC) of the party.
National Facilitator of EUL and a chieftain of the APC in the state, Comrade Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, disclosed this on Thursday in Benin, while briefing journalists.
According to him, “If the APC constitution is anything to go by, article 20(iv)e states inter alia: ‘Without prejudice to article 20(u) and (iii) of the constitution, the national working committee shall subject to the approval of the national executive committee.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that the NWC is not a law unto itself, and like every other gubernatorial primaries precedents, this one scheduled for June 22nd in Edo will be accordingly reviewed based on the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic in favour of indirect primaries mode
“President Buhari is the head of APC NEC which is approving of all proposals by NWC. It is appropriate for the president to sensitize them that direct primaries is antithetical to all known protocol of security and health safety in the era of Covid-19,” he said.
Edokpolo therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the National Working Committee of the party to order by jettisoning the proposed direct primaries mode for the party in forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.
He alleged that 95 percent of APC primaries had been indirect when the world was Covid-19 free, wondering why the NWC would proposed direct primaries when Covid-19 is ravaging the world with much fatalities.
According to him, the direct primaries position was antithetical to all known protocol of security and health safety in the era of Covid-19 pandemic, adding that medical experts have warned against the direct primaries because of it attendant consequence due to Covid-19.
“Mobilising 350,000 members of APC across the 192 wards of Edo, in the face of crass ignorance of Covid-19 existence and incontrovertible facts of rural illiteracy, fatality of Covid-19 will be worsen in our state.
“In the indirect mode, the about 3500 delegates and INEC officials can be effectively coordinated in one or two centres in Benin, within the extant rule of social distance,” he said.
Chairmen of the party in the 18 local government areas, said the endorsement of indirect primary was in accordance with the resolution of the State Executive Committee.
Benjamin Oghumu, APC chairman, Orhionmwon local government, who spoke on their behalf, said the resolution of the State Working Committee was duly passed on May 22, 2020 as authorised by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party in August 2018.
He described the purported agreement for Osagie Ize-Iyamu to return to the party as a consensus candidate as lacking in foundation.
“Pastor Oaagie Ize-Iyamu is not a member of our party, he led his followers out of All Progressives Congress in 2014 and even contested the governorship election on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2016 election which he lost.
“The purported waiver granted to him by the National Working Committee of the party is ultra vires, null and void as Article 31 of the party constitution confers that power on the National Executive Committee of the party.
“Besides, the conditions for waiver prescribed by the party constitution have not been met. The party has a constitution and the constitution make provisions on how things are done including registration of new members,” he said.