The All Progressives Congress (APC) will enforce popular participation of its members in the process of picking candidates for the general election, its Natinal Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, said yesterday.
He said no amount of intimidation would force the leadership of the party to waiver in its determination in this regard.
Oshiomhole spoke with reporters after a prolonged meeting with governors and other leaders, who were at the sectretariat to complain about how the primaries were conducted in their states.
The chairman expressed regret that the governorship primary was hijacked and electoral materials taken in some states.
He also spoke on the primaries in Imo, Ogun and Adamawa State, stressing that results were to be announced by the returning officers and not by state party chairmen or Secretary.
The governors in attendance at the meeting are Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Mohammed Sani Bello (Niger), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo).
The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari was also part of the meeting of the governors with the National Working Committee.
Oshiomhole also expressed regret that some party members who seek to hijack the electoral process in the FCT chose to sponsor people to protest at the party secretariat instead of engaging the people and participating in the direct primary in the selection of their candidates.
He said the NWC had asked the panel sent to conduct the primary election in the FCT to go back and conduct the exercise through the direct primary mode.
“FCT will have to do direct primary. I have told the committee to go back, call the stakeholders and by tomorrow morning, they will have to conduct free, fair and transparent direct primary in the FCT. This is not negotiable,” he said.
He added: “We met with various leaders, whoever has challenges. This is like the political clinic. We are in a situation room and it is normal that when you are carrying out a democratic exercise across the 36 states and the FCT, you are bound to have some challenges.
“Those aspirants who are looking for short cut should know that there is no short cut to the democratic process. If you cannot withstand the rigour of Communication, persuading and earning the trust and respect of the ordinary member of the APC in the FCT, maybe APC should not be your party because we are committed to popular participation.”
Oshiomhole also spoke on the Zamfara notched election, saying reports available to them suggested that the process was “botched, materials were snatched and results taken to unauthorised places. The panel we sent there has come to explain in unison what transpired.
“It is unfortunate that many people choose to opt for violence. But I am happy that the panel refused to compromise and stood their ground even in the face of intimidation.
“We are going to conduct free, fair primary in Zamfara. This process has to be done according to the rules and regulations of the APC and that means it will be done by the Electoral body and not by the state government or agents of the state government.
“Every member of the party in Zamfara State has a right and that right must be respected by the NWC to vote for any aspirant of their own choice. No amount of blackmail will make us to abandon that. That is the right thing to do.
“My mandate as Chairman of the APC is to be faithful to our constitution. I swore an oath of office to be just to every member of the APC. For me, this oath of office is meant to be obeyed. We are going to set up a new committee that will conduct the election in Zamfara.”
He said that the NWC will be sending a new panel to Imo to conduct a transparent primary, stressing that “to me and the NWC, what matters is not who win, but the integrity of the process. Once the integrity of the process can be guaranteed, whoever win, wins.