Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has assured the 33 aspirants for the Ekiti State governorship election that the party has no preferred candidate, warning the primary election committee to conduct a free, fair and credible party primary.
Speaking while inaugurating the Primaries Committee chaired by the Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, the APC National Organising Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso, revealed that security agents have been mobilised for the exercise billed to hold at the stadium, in Ado-Ekiti.
He insisted that the only means if accreditation is with the national identity card, international passport and the Permanent Voters Card (PVC), urging the committee to adhere to the guidelines fir the primaries.
His words, “The party is happy that you graciously accepted to take in this onerous responsibility but we also know that it is not an assignment you cannot handle. You are capable of doing it and that is why we appointed people of your calibre.
“The task before us is how we can win the governorship of Ekiti State. We intend to conduct a very transparent primaries in the state. With a transparent primaries, whoever emerges will automatically become the governor of the state.
“The guidelines are there before you and when you go through it you will see those who are qualified to delegates got the primaries.
“The 12 principal officers of the ward executives but it is now 13 because of the addition of the leaders of physically challenged persons, all members of the Local Government executive in the state, every member of our party who is an office of the local government and all members of the state executive committee.
“Others are all members of the NEC in the state, All members of BoT and national caucus from that state, all elected persons from that state.
“LGA Chairmen in that state, among others. The voting shall be by secret ballot and the aspirant with highest number of votes shall be announced winner. There will be nothing like spread.
“There were 33 aspirants that bought forms out which the screening committee disqualified four, remaining 29. However, I have been informed that the NWC cleared all of them which means that you have 33 persons.
“We will hand over the ballot papers to you and it is expected that you are going to counter sign them. All the aspirants have delegate list and as at today, no aspirant has raised any objection or sent petition about the delegates list despite giving them the lift long enough. We are going to handover the same delegates lists we gave to the aspirants.
“The primary will be conducted at the stadium and the state chairman has secured that. Because of the experiences of the past, we appeal that you for the whole exercise in one place. We expect that you hold a stakeholders meeting when you get to Ekiti State including all the aspirants and the party chieftains.
“We also normally approve the use of national identity card, international passport, PVC for accreditation for the delegates.
“Our membership card is not accepted because as a slip anybody can print it. There are those that might not be able to read and write, those that physically challenged that you have to device a way they should vote.
“Our aspirants are not automatic delegates and the automatic delegate aspirants are the statutory delegates. The fact that one is an aspirant does not make him a delegate in APC primaries. The delegates are expected to have agents.
“The security agencies have been informed about the exercise and they are eagerly waiting for your arrival and we are sure you will use your hood office to mobilise them.
“We have more preferred candidate and such foes not even exist in our lexicon. All aspirants are equal until after the election.
“The responsibility of the Appeal Committee is to receive petitions but we pray that there will be no petition after the conduct of the primaries,” he noted.
Responding, Governor Al-Makura assured that his committee will not disappoint the party, noting: “On behalf of my committee, I want to commend the NWC for considering us worthy to carry out this task. We will follow the party guidelines and we want to assure that NWC that we will do justice to this exercise.
“We will ensure free and fair primary election, conformity and adherence to all guidelines and the constitution so that by the time the exercise is over the party will be stronger. We will claim the mandate desired by our party. We will deploy everything to ensure a rancour free exercise,” he said.