Twelve of the seventeen screened aspirants in the Osun State governorship race have rejected the direct mode of primary election as proclaimed by the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The party leaders also backed the purported removal of Gboyega Famodun and Alhaji Rasaq Salinsile as State Chairman and Secretary of APC as declared by 11 out of 16 members of the State Working Committee of the party.
Speaking through Osun West Senatorial leader, Chief Yinusa Akintola Amobi, at a press conference in Iwo, the aspirants insisted that the method with which other elections had been conducted recently should also be used for the July 19, 2018 APC primary election in the state.
Flanked by all senatorial leaders from Osun West, including party state officers, state lawmakers from the zone, Aregbesola cabinet members, local government party chairmen, special advisers, 25 local government chairmen and councillors, women leaders, youth leaders across the state, among others, Amobi warned the national secretariat of the party to rescind its earlier decision to use the direct mode of primary election if it did not want to lose the state to the opposition.
He explained that all the 12 aspirants from the zone had met and resolved that the delegate system should be used for them, and that anything short of this would not be accepted.
Amobi said the senatorial zone was rejecting the direct mode of primaries because there was no verifiable database of APC members registered for each unit and electoral wards as obtained in INEC voter registers.
He said further that there was no ascertained APC party membership/strength in the state while APC party membership registration had not been updated since 2014.
According to him, “The adoption of open primaries will lead to chaos of an unimaginable magnitude which would definitely weaken the party’s strength, a resolution of which might not be achieved until the 2019 general election.
“It should be stressed at this point that there are more than the aforementioned reasons why Osun State should not be lost to the opposition in the pursuit of ulteriorly motivated request of some powers that be who have lavishly enjoyed our strong and unwavering support for upward of a decade”
The party stakeholders further argued that had the national secretariat of APC insisted on direct primaries, it should have started it with the election of Adams Oshiomhole, stressing that the only way for Osun APC to win the September 22, 2018 governorship race was to zone the slot to Osun West and use the delegate system of primaries.
Among the aspirants present at the conference were Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, Dr. Peter Babalola, Alhaji Saka Layoonu, Hon. Gafar Amere, Hon. Najeem Salami, Engr. Mumini Olabanji, Mr. Dayo Oyebanji while party stalwarts included Hon. Patricia Etteh, Senator Mudasiru Hussein, Barr. Gbadegesin Adedeji, Alhaji Gbadebo Ajao, Hon Ayo Omidiran, Alhaji Sule Alao, commissioners, special advisers, local government chairmen and sympathisers from other senatorial districts.
Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the party, had on Monday announced the adoption of direct party primaries for the emergence of the APC flag bearer in the July 19 exercise.
He said it would facilitate the participation of all party members in the decision of who becomes the party’s candidate.
Amobi called on the National Working Committee of the party to reverse the proclamation of direct party primaries for the conduct of the election without delay to avoid devastating effect for the party.
The district, according to him, demanded the use of delegates system for picking the party’s flag bearer not for selfish interest, adding that it was aimed at ensuring the representation of teaming and committed members of the party in the choice of their candidate.
While supporting the action of the 11 state working committee members that announced the suspension in office of the party chairman and secretary for the state, Akintola said since they were not part of the signatories to the purported letter requesting for direct primaries for the conduct of the election, there was obvious attempt at imposing a candidate on members of the party.