More mixed feelings still reigns in both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the mode of primaries to pick their standard-bearers for the forthcoming governorship primaries.
The situation in the ruling APC is more intense as the chairmen of the two factions in the Edo State chapter of the party are still digging in as the countdown to the intra-party poll begins.
While Mr Anslem Ojezua, who is loyal to incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, insisted on indirect primary to pick the candidate of the party, Colonel David Imuse (retd), who leads the camp of the party loyal to the national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is in support of the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) for direct primary where every card-carrying party member will vote for the aspirant of their choice.
Ojezua, who spoke in an interview, said it was up to the state executive of the party to determine the mode of the primary in line with the decision National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC, which had before now, given them the nod.
But Imuse disputed the claim, insisting that it was wrong for an aspirant to determine how the primary election should be conducted.
Imuse likened the position of the camp of Governor Obaseki to a case of one candidate in an examination dictating for his examiner that he wants it in theory while the examiner insists on objective.
He quipped: “How does that work out? Obaseki is just one of the aspirants. Mind you, the APC has many aspirants jostling for the party ticket and the NWC is supposed to be the umpire. How can one of the aspirants, an interested party, determine for the party the mode of the primary? Does that make sense?”
Ojezua however faulted his opponent, saying it was obvious that the APC national leadership was not neutral and was the reason why it didn’t deem it fit to consult the state chapter and hurriedly came out with the mode and also gave waiver to one of the aspirants who re-join the party only late last year.
Asked what will be his camp’s next line of action, he warned: “We have several options. You will note that some of the leaders disagreed. We are in a democracy and not military garrison. We will take steps to stop them.”
The two camps, however, maintained that they were prepared for the primary and would mobilise their supporters for the election proper for a landslide victory for the ruling party come next September.
On his part, the chairman of the PDP in the state, Aziegbemi, hoped that the aspirants for the party’s ticket would faithfully accept the outcome of the party primaries, promising a level-playing field for all the contestants.
“We expect that the primary is going to be very free and credible. We expect that the aspirants will go about campaigning and take their message to delegates in a very robust and peaceful manner while also helping them to bring in more people to the party so that at the end of it all, everybody will be satisfied with what went on at the primary.
“We should expect them to accept the result of the primary. It is a combination of making sure that every aspirant believes in the system that we are talking of and taking the message to the party structures at the different local government areas for the purpose of the governorship election coming up in September,” he said.