The All Progressives Congress (APC) will pick its presidential candidate through direct primary at a date to be announced later, it was decided at the ruling party’s sixth National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting yesterday.
Candidates for other positions – governors, national and state assemblies – are to be picked through indirect primary or delegates system, the party said in Abuja.
In a direct primary, all bona fide party members pick the candidate.
States that wish to use the direct system to pick their candidates will obtain the permission of the national secretariat by writing a request, accompanied with a resolution of approval by stakeholders.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives and other leaders who are members of the most important organ of the party after the National Convention, attended the meeting.
House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who is believed to be on his way out of the party, was absent. Deputy Speaker Yussuff Lasun, who has repeatedly said he will not leave the party, also did not attend.
National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole announced that Dogara and Yussuff gave written excuses for their absence.
Oshiomhole said: “We have apologies from the Speaker in a letter dated 27th of August, 2018 that he had a previous engagement and would not be able to attend the NEC meeting as he is currently out of the country. We also have correspondence from the Deputy Speaker that he has an appointment with his doctors and won’t be able to attend the meeting.”
Governors Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi) spoke to reporters on the outcome of the meeting.
Lalong also said the meeting failed to agree on the sequence of elections for its primaries. The matter was referred to the National Working Committee (NWC) for a decision.
The governor said: “About two or three things were discussed. First, the document on the guidelines; the mode of elections and the mode of funding. Also the necessity for unity within the party after the gale of defections.”
He said the party unanimously agreed that defections had not “affected us much, but we have tightened the party the more”.
“On the mode of election, we all agreed that for presidential election, we are going for direct primary, but for other elections, there are two options. But the general option is that we go for indirect primary.
“But any state that has a problem and wants to deviate from that is at liberty to write following the normal process with a resolution from their state executive seeking approval for a deviation from the agreed process.
“In the sequence of election, it was directed back to the NWC to look at the comments that were made and within those comments, address them in line the Electoral Act and bring out a time table for the sequence of election. The National Executive Committee has been given that power.”
He added that a standing Committee was set up recommend proper funding of the party.
“The constitution of the party provides for either direct or indirect primaries or consensus. But for the presidential election, we all agreed to adopt the direct option.
On automatic tickets for governors and lawmakers, Lalong said: “We didn’t discuss the issue of automatic tickets. But we agreed that patriotic and loyal members should be rewarded but not necessarily with automatic tickets.
“Some of our senators who are patriotic who were supposed to be taken away were all kept. We asked all the states to look at it and we’ll find a way to reward them. But for the election, the option is given to everybody to face election. So, there was nothing like automatic for anybody.
“We debated the cost of nomination and left it to the National Working Committee to take into consideration some of the views expressed and come out with a reasonable figure and any figure they bring out will be acceptable and we don’t need to come back to NEC to ratify it.”
Governors at the meeting include Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Lalong (Plateau), Bello (Kogi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Tanko Al Makura (Nasarawa), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Atiku Badugu (Kebbi), Sani Bello (Niger), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Jibrilla Bindo (Adamawa), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina)
Governors Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) were represented by their deputies.
Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan led others, such as Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Senator Magnus Abe, Senator Andy Uba, Senator Binta Masi Garba, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Senator Ben Uwajumogu, among others.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustaphar and Special Adviser (Political Matters) to the President Senator Babafemi Ojodu also attended.