The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State has adopted indirect primaries for selecting its candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The chairman of the party in the state, Emmanuel Jekada, announced the decision in a statement in Kaduna on Thursday.
Mr Jekada said the state executive committee had at a meeting on Wednesday sought the consent of party stakeholders on the mode of election to be applied in the state.
“It’s in line with the above that the Kaduna working committee wishes to states that the Kaduna SEC adopted indirect Primary’ as the mode of conduct of the party primary elections in the state,” he said.
According to the statement, the state executive committee of the party has since communicated the decision to the headquarters of the party.
The chairman gave four reasons the state could not adopt direct primaries, which the national headquarters had last week recommended to the states.
These include absence of a comprehensive register of party members. Mr Jekada said the APC leadership in the state “has made spirited attempts to acquire a comprehensive database of party members from the party’s National Headquarters but to no avail.
“Without a comprehensive membership register, any direct primaries may be disrupted by non-members including individuals from other parties who may come up with fake membership cards to cause confusion in the process.”
Other reasons he cited are:
“Experience of Direct Primaries from the recently concluded primary elections for councillorship in state where the party adopted direct primaries to select its candidates was marred by significant disruption and controversy and over stretched the security agencies. Using this mode for the upcoming primary elections would definitely not produce the desired results and its credibility may be called to question.
“The direct primary method would result in significant logistic challenges for the party; with party membership running into hundreds of thousands in the state, printing of ballots, deployment of election materials, accreditation, voting, collation and declaration of results would be very expensive with financial cost surpassing a billion naira in Kaduna alone. These are costs that the party may not be able to shoulder in view of the fact that it was not envisaged, and no budget provision has been made for it, and
“In order to deepen and broaden the democratic practice, the party looks forward to the adoption of direct primaries in future elections at which time the limitations listed above would have been resolved.”
Party members present at the meeting where the decision was reached include the only remaining senator of the party from the state, Shehu Sani, Members of the House of Representatives, state lawmakers and other party members.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Sani, who is the senator representing Kaduna central district, had joined some other aspirants in the state to write the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, requesting that the state chapter be compelled to adopt direct primary mechanism which the party earlier settled for.
Addressing journalists after submitting the letter, Mr Sani who earlier on his Twitter handle said “indirect primaries is direct corruption”, urged party leaders to stand by their decision on direct primaries.
The group said indirect primaries was a direct antithesis to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to fight corruption at all levels.
“The party having touted the change mantra must shine the light into those dark places in the electoral system where the corruptive influence of ill-gotten wealth is used to subvert the will of the electorate and perpetrate the vicious circle of corruption, bad governance and weak and dysfunctional institutions and processes.
“We the aspirants and stakeholders of the Kaduna STATE Chapter of our great party the All Progressives Congress (APC) present our best compliments to you and wish by this letter to inform Your Excellency of our collective decision to adopt DIRECT PRIMARIES as the preferred mode of nominating candidates at primary elections into all elective positions in the state.
“We the undersigned are particularly in opposition to indirect primaries because of the weakening effects of its corruptive tendencies. The entire process begins and ends with vote buying. And, as it is always the case where the will of the general electorates are subverted, the best candidates for the tasks at hand never get recruited.
“Our decision to adopt direct primaries in Kaduna State is the panacea to the deep fault lines and obstacles to building a strong virile, people-rooted APC. Direct primaries is the most assured means at throwing up the most popular candidates that will deliver Kaduna State for the APC come 2019,” the group said.
The group warned that the state would not be helped by indirect parties as “only the few in power will control the outcome.”