Members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bayelsa state have adopted the direct system of primaries to choose who becomes the governorship flag bearer for the November 16 election in the state.
The meeting, which was attended by key stakeholders including the state leader of the party and former Governor Timipre Sylva, the immediate past minister of agriculture and rural development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, a former member of the President Buhari campaign council, Engr. Preye Aganaba, and elected National Assembly members of the party, was held amidst rowdy atmosphere.
The state chairman of the party, Jothan Amos, while delivering his opening remark, told party faithful in attendance that the stakeholder meeting was summoned to discuss the mode of party primaries and suggested that it will be direct primaries to sustain the tempo of the party successes from the last national and state assemblies election.
Also buttressing the position of the state chairman, the member of the Federal House of Representative, representing Southern Ijaw constituency, Hon. Preye Oseke, called on the members of the party to remain calm as the decision on mode of primaries should not be allowed to divide the party.
Oseke reminded the party faithful that the issue of mode of primaries is a constitutional matter and that it behove on the chairman of the party to put the question before the stakeholders, ‘there is no need for us to quarrel over the issue of direct or indirect primaries. We have all agreed that we have a common goal which the fact that restoration government must go.
“As politicians, we can fight and disagree, but we know that we have a common goal. Now it is a better chance, we must put our house in order.
The Leader of the APC and Former Governor,Chief Timipre Sylva also spoke on the need to remain calm and insisted that Bayelsa is not the only state having governorship election this year and see no reason for rancour, ‘ this not the way of the APC, something has crept into it. APC is a family. I have said it times without numbers that whoever wants to aspire, can aspire and the party is to ensure that we will in November 16th election’
‘We should not start insisting on procedures I cannot attend a meeting of party family and be insisting. This is a family meeting and you cannot be insisting. Contact your people in Kogi state, nobody called them from national to insist on procedure, it is a simple process and should not be rancorous meeting.’
When the state chairman, Jothan Amos put the question to the already rowdy meeting, some shouted direct, while others just kept shouting ‘No!No!!No!!! and everyone left the venue.
The state secretary of the party, Alabo Martins, later told newsmen that the major resolution of the stakeholder meeting agreed on the direct mode of voting for the governorship primary of the party.
In their separate reactions, Engr. Preye Aganaba and Senator Heineken Lokpobiri argued that the meeting ended in a stalemate because the chairman of the party failed to follow due process at summoning stakeholder meeting and adoption of the mode of primaries for the party.
Engr. Aganaba, who spoke through the director-general of his governorship campaign, Rt. Hon. Nestor Binabo, said ‘though the meeting ended in a stalemate, even with a consensus pattern, we will carry the day. Bayelsa people want us and we know.’
He said ‘the chairman of the party did not handle the matter well. The state working committee of the party should have drawn up an agenda and bring it to the stakeholders’ meeting for adoption and discussion. This process was not followed. And the meeting was technically unconstitutional according to the APC constitution.
In his position, Senator Lokpobiri, through his director of media and publicity of his governorship campaign team, Hon. Perez Peretu, said the meeting ended in a stalemate and that the APC state chairman needed to summon another stakeholders meeting.
‘Many of the SWC members including the deputy chairman and the state legal officer kicked against the action of the state chairman and accused him of not summoning a meeting of the party exco to discuss and adopt the mode of primaries before the stakeholders’ meeting.