..as stakeholders meet to reduce aspirants
By Tom Okpe
The ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) has reiterated its readiness to take over power from the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in Edo State in the September 21, 2024 forthcoming state governorship election.
National Chairman of the party, Dr Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, in this regard, called a stakeholders meeting, which held at the party National Secretariat, Buhari House, Monday night, terminating, Tuesday,16 January 2024, morning with the aim to reduce its aspirants for the context.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) fixed September 21, 2024 for Edo State off-cycle governorship election.
Briefing journalists, Tuesday morning after the meeting, National Deputy Publicity Secretary of the party, Duro Meseko along with the Edo State APC Publicity Secretary, Barr Peter Uwadie-Igbinigie and Director of Publicity of the party, Bala Ibrahim said:
“As preparations towards a hitch-free Governorship Primary Election in Edo State intensifies, the National Working Committee, (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) held a consultative meeting with stakeholders of the Party from the state on Monday, 15th January, 2024 and resolved that Direct Primaries must be applied, to produce the Governorship candidate of the Party for the State.
“In view of the large numbers of aspirants jostling for the Party’s ticket in Edo State, the NWC urged the stakeholders to unite in trimming the number of aspirants, urging all governorship aspirants to exhibit Party discipline and patriotism by shunning attitude of running to the Courts at every opportunity, instead of exploring internal dispute resolution mechanisms, especially, after Party Primaries.
“For the smooth running of the Party, all members should ensure strict compliance with their financial obligations to the Party, in line with the Party’s Constitution.”
The NWC also resolved with the stakeholders that for want of time, the E-registration exercise of the Party for fresh members be conducted after the Primaries in order not to derail the smooth conduct of the Primaries.
The stakeholders were also, urged by the NWC to promote unity within the ranks of the Party in order to go into the election as one family, bound by progressive ideals, geared to reclaim the Party’s mandate in Edo State.
Ganduje who assured all aspirants of level playing ground, urged them to act as party men, whose ambition must not be inimical to collective goal of the party which is victory.
He stressed that the new NWC of the party, under his leadership is willing to do things procedurally, in other to institutionalize the party.
“Since we were sworn in as the new, or reformed NWC, we said it would not be business as usual because as a Progressive party, we are supposed to be a party with clear-cut objectives.
“A party that will increase its followership in terms of Governors in the Federation, members of the National Assembly, Senators and House of Representatives members, have to work throughout the year.
“In developing countries, political parties are weak institutions. But we want to make APC a very strong institution. Therefore, according to our programme, we are working throughout the year, not until when there are elections, and after elections the party becomes dead.
“We have studied political parties in developed countries and we know how they are,” Ganduje said.
The National Chairman also, urged aspirants to explore all avenues to discuss among themselves, to minimize conflicts, going into the polls, reiterating the importance of winning the State Governorship seat back, to the APC where it originally belongs.
“We have to improve our internal democracy, we have to deepen and widen it. We need to understand the party and its manifesto, its rules and regulations. We need to understand its philosophy. We need to move towards having a party ideology so that we will not be an ordinary political association whereby, everybody can come in just to win election.
“To widen it, we need to increase our followership, as internal democracy is important. We have to be transparent and at the same time, adopt a guided democracy where we can discuss issues that will limit, if possible, number of contests.
“Edo is an APC State. You know one of us went on sabbatical leave, and he decided to take up a permanent appointment.
“Now we have to take Edo back. We have only one State from the South-South for the greatest party in Africa. It’s not acceptable. We were able to get only Cross River State. After crossing so many rivers, we succeeded in getting Cross River State. But Edo State, we must get,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, former governor of Edo State and leader of the State stakeholders, Comrade Adams Oshiomole commended the National Chairman for his commitment to the party’s victory in the State, as exemplified in the past. He appealed to all aspirants to ensure that they behave as party men to guarantee victory.
He pledged the stakeholders commitment to ensure common sense, to pave way for victory at the poll.
“Giving your commitment, the other time when you did not have any obligation, but rather than voluntarily, accepting to lead and help us win the election, now I believe you have a duty much more compelling to see that this election is won.
“On our part, we have tried to initiate dialogue among our aspirants. It is no secret, that at the time we had the dialogue, I think they, (aspirants) are 29, with one, purchasing the nomination forms. The process is ongoing, and the struggle continues. So we are looking forward to a healthy celebration,” Oshiomhole said.
The party scheduled the Edo State Governorship Primary election to February 17, 2024 selling the nomination and expression of interest forms for N50m with 29 contestants.