The All Progressives Congress (APC), Enugu State chapter, has faulted the statement credited to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, that their party has adopted direct primaries mode for its forthcoming polls.
Dr Ben Nwoye, the state chairman, made this clarification while briefing newsmen yesterday at the APC Secretariat in Enugu.
Nwoye spoke as Osita Okechukwu, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), declared that nobody was afraid of direct primaries in Enugu, but they were being pragmatic, reasonable and rational.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs had at the weekend announced that Enugu State APC adopted direct primaries mode for its primaries.
Onyeama said this after a meeting of stakeholders at a Hotel in Enugu, attended by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, Onyemuche Nnamani, Ayogu Eze, Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu, General Joseph Okoloagu (rtd), Hyacinth Ngwu, factional chairman, Okey Ogbodo and others.
But, Nwoye dissociated Enugu state APC from the purported meeting, describing the statement credited to the Minister as “absolute and blatant falsehood.”
The party chairman said Enugu APC State Executive Committee (SEC) met as directed through a letter by the National Chairman, Adam Oshimhole, and unanimously adopted the indirect primaries and consensus mode for its primaries.
Nwoye accused the Minister of attempting to upturn the party resolution by telling the public that Enugu State APC adopted direct primaries.
“As directed by the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshimhole, we held a meeting after due consultations with stakeholders and raised a resolution to choose the mode of primaries to elect our flag bearers.
“We were directed to choose from direct, indirect and consensus and we held a meeting of SEC and 57 members in attendance adopted indirect and consensus. The decision was taken by SEC,” Nwoye said.
The party boss accused the Minister of trying to destabilize the party because of the senatorial ambition of one woman.
Earlier while addressing the stakeholders, Okechukwu noted that majority of the states adopted indirect primaries and even Edo state opted for consensus.
“We are trying to be pragmatic, reasonable and rational. If you do the arithmetic of direct primaries, it will cost APC in Enugu about N400 million. APC in Enugu does not own a single bus. You have to buy ballot papers and you train the people who will conduct the primaries. Yes, APC is the ruling party but we need money to pay allowances for security personnel including police and DSS because if you do not have them, there will be confusion.
“If you talk about direct primaries in Enugu, it means that you do not like APC. In fact, those talking about direct primaries are agents who are working for PDP,” Okechukwu said.
The VON DG reminded those asking for direct primaries that the party’s admin secretary and other staff in the state secretariat were owed nine months arrears of salaries while the party officers were not earning any allowances.
He said it was the policy of President Buhari not to use government money to fund politics but rather to deploy it to the building of infrastructure.
According to Okechukwu, it was easier to adopt direct primaries in the presidential primaries with President Buhari as the presumptive candidate, but not feasible in Enugu West senatorial primaries where about five persons were running.
He urged those asking for direct primaries to, first of all, donate a bus to the party and if they do not want to do so, stop causing trouble.