Saturday, 1 September 2018

Emergence of Candidates; APC NWC Ratifies Direct Primaries, As MKO Abiola’s Daughter Resigns Membership, Says Party Not “Youth” Friendly



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The All Progressive Congress has come out, taking a stand on the ragging controversy surrounding whether it will adopt direct primaries for its candidates for the upcoming 2019 general election, which nullifies its earlier position on the mode of election.

The governing party, briefing journalists at the end of its NEC Meeting in Abuja through the plateau state governor, Simon Lalong was quoted as saying that  “when the matter about its determination on direct primaries came up for discussion, most of the states opted to use direct primaries” he said it was base on this, it was agreed that any state wishing to adopt direct method would have to write the national leadership of the party for approval.


“The constitution of the party provides for either direct, indirect or consensus but for the presidential election we all agreed that we will adopt direct primaries for the presidential election. Also a recommendation was made by the NWC that the other states should adopt the indirect mode but there may be situations that this might be difficult in the state looking at their peculiarities. 

  “So if there are such difficulties, they can apply, following the process”, Lalong had said. On Friday morning, the party further reaffirmed the reports from Thursday’s meeting of its National Executive Committee NEC which said direct election would only be adopted for the presidential primaries while states were at liberty to use either of direct or indirect primaries with approval from its national leadership.
Further to these developments, the party’s Spokesman, Yekini Nabena has also confirmed to newsmen that the resolution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Committee (NEC) on the mode of Primary Election has been subject to inferences and misleading interpretations. “As an update to the earlier released statement, we wish to make the following clarifications on NEC’s resolutions on Mode of Primary Election:  Primary elections into all elective offices shall be by Direct Primaries; NEC resolved to adopt Direct Primaries for the nomination of the Presidential candidate and all other Primaries; 

 The Party’s constitution though provides for Indirect Election and Consensus, however, the use of Indirect Primaries is conditional and dependent on logistic impediments; peculiarities and need of a given State that makes it unable to use Direct Primaries. “The State Executive Committee (SEC) shall in consultation with aspirants and other critical stakeholders of the Party in a given State forward for the consideration and approval by the National Working Committee (NWC) if Indirect Primaries is to be adopted.

The adopted mode shall now be applied to all categories of the Party’s Primary Elections i.e. State Assembly, Senate, House of Representatives and for the Governorship Elections. “The request for Indirect Primaries must be signed by majority of the State Executive Committee and critical stakeholders in attendance at the meeting where such resolution is reached. “Direct Primaries will among others ensure fairness; create a level playing ground for contestants; eliminate corrupt tendencies usually associated with the delegates system and ultimately ensure full participation of party members at all levels”.

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Meanwhile, one of the daughters of the acclaimed winner of June 12 election and member of Board of Trustee (BoT) of All Progressive Congress, Rinsola Abiola has resigned her position and also renounce her party membership.
The Daughter of chief MKO Abiola was a pillar in the youth wing of the APC, prior to now and also a notable aide to the speaker of the House of Representatives.

In her letter of resignation, circulated to APC leaders on Friday, Abiola described APC as a party with undemocratic principles that stifled youth development. Specifically, Abiola said that APC was only sloganeering on the youth participation in active politics.

She said that her desire to pursue the youth liberation on APC platform was met with resistance and stern warning to steer clear of mainstream politics, especially concerning running for any elective office.

 Abiola said that the position of the party runs at variance with its much mouthed philosophy of inclusiveness, saying that the party has derailed its foundational principles. When contacted to confirm the letter and her resignation, Abiola said thus: “I left APC and that automatically nullifies my membership of any organs of the party and support groups.”

The letter personally signed by her read in full: “Your Excellencies, “My leaders, mentors, colleagues and friends, “I write to formally communicate my decision to relinquish membership of the All Progressives Congress. This has been a five-year journey during which I have met some very exceptional people and learned from you all. “Last year, while we – youth advocates and those of us in political parties who fall within the youth demography – were advocating for passage of the Not Too Young To Run Bill, I approached a handful of our leaders and expressed my intention to run for office if the Bill scales through.

 Thankfully, this year, Not Too Young To Run became law and young people (from 25) can now seek to occupy elective positions. “I began consultations in October 2017 but have now concluded that while legal constraints may have been done away with, there are greater challenges that we all must contend with.

Apart from the usual issues like funding and violence, undemocratic dictates which are now (erroneously) viewed as the norm also pose a serious challenge. I have been told in no unclear terms that I “must not run”, that I “should not even consider it”, and that there are “consequences for disobedience”.

“I believe strongly that such things should not be tolerated in a democracy which many people fought for, with some of our heroes – my father inclusive – losing their lives in the process. I also believe that if those who fought for this democracy had listened to such veiled threats or even thought about the consequences that they might face, civil rule would not have been restored when it was. “In 2013, I left youth activism for mainstream politics because I believed governance was a more efficient vehicle for bringing about change; there was nothing that I wanted more than to be part of the process of making this country work again and contributing my quota to national development. I believed – and still do – that there’s only so much that one can do to elevate the living conditions of one’s people as an individual, and that occupying a position with the backing of the Constitution gives a lot more power to change lives and in much greater numbers.


 “I have always advocated for enhanced youth and women participation in politics; this is why I believe that simply accepting this situation or making peace with what can only be described as tyranny and injustice as some have advised me to, would make me both dishonest to myself and untrue to everything I’ve ever advocated for. “I want to thank you all sincerely for everything you have done to help me grow and I hope that our relationship remains cordial irrespective of political leanings. I remain committed to the ideals which led me to join politics, and will join another party once I’m convinced that inclusion for youths and women is an issue they priorities and that internal democracy truly matters.

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