The chairman of the caretaker committee of the ruling APC, Mala Buni, has cautioned the governorship aspirants of the party in Ondo State not to dictate on its mode of primary.
The APC primary in Ondo State holds on July 20.
Eleven of the 12 governorship aspirants had in a letter addressed to Mr Buni, who is the Yobe State governor and head, extraordinary national convention committee, rejected the body’s adoption of an indirect mode of primary.
They demanded a direct method in electing who emerges the party’s ultimate governorship candidate.
A direct mode of primary involves the participation of all party members in the selection of party candidates while an indirect primary involves the use of delegates.
In the indirect primary, party leaders at local levels, political appointees as well as elected officials elect the candidates. This method gives an incumbent an edge over other aspirants in a political race.
In his address at the inauguration of members of the Ondo State primary election and appeal committees at the APC secretariat in Abuja on Friday, Mr Buni said the party will not change its mind.
He said the “party is also carefully avoiding issues with the tendency of creating disaffection, animosity and division to reignite fresh crisis within its fold.”
Vouching for the two newly inaugurated committees to be chaired by the Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello, and Chris Ibe respectively, the Yobe governor appealed to the disturbed aspirants to maintain peace and expect fairness during the primary.
“I am convinced that these reliable ladies and gentlemen will be fair, transparent, impartial and upright to do justice to all the aspirants in the course of their assignments.
“As a party with great respect for internal democracy, we must appreciate and honour the popular choice for us to have a marketable candidate to be presented to the electorate during the election. There is no doubt; we are committed to renewing the mandate from the good people of Ondo State,” he said at the event.
“I wish to caution our aspirants to respect the rules governing the party primary,” Mr Buni added.
Reiterating the stance of Mr Buni, Mr Bello, the chairman of the Ondo primary election committee, said ”it is not the place of aspirants to dictate the mode of primary in a party’s governorship election but that of the party.”
“I was a contestant myself before. It is not for aspirants to dictate for the party the rules of the game,” he told journalists in an interview shortly after the inauguration.
As stipulated in Section 13 and 20 of the APC constitution, the party’s national body, which Mr Buni-led committee temporarily represents, is empowered to determine the mode of primary to be used in selecting the party’s governorship candidates.