The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) reached a decision on the mode of its primaries for its states chapters and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) ahead of Saturday’s primaries.
Why It Matters:
The various states have been torn over the mode of primaries between the direct primaries or the indirect option which seems to be the preference of the status quo. The direct primaries open up participation and voting in the primaries to the generality of the party base while the indirect option adopts a delegate system generally under the control of the Governors. The APC governors favour the indirect option but the party decided to treat the matters on a case by case basis.
Five Significant States:
The APC NWC decided that 18 states should conduct direct primaries while the other 19 should go for the indirect mode. Of all the states there are five significant states where some of the governors had their way and some others were left hanging.
The Three Losers
– Lagos: Governor Ambode is the big loser here. The governor of Nigeria’s largest economy is obviously not a fan of the direct primaries which clearly signals defeat for him. Having fallen out of favour with the party’s national leader and his godfather, Bola Tinubu, he has been left in the cold with no one willing to give him cover. The party base has been effectively mobilised against him and in favour of the favourite, Jide Sanwoolu who has received the endorsement of all the party’s local council administrators in the state.
– Ogun: Governor Amosun who is set to complete his final term in office tried to pull all the stops to ensure that his anointed candidates got the party ticket. Earlier in September, the governor presented a list of consensus candidates for almost all the elective positions at the state level, a situation that led to protests within the party as people were denied the chance to even participate in a primary contest. The decision by the NWC effectively voids Amosun’s unfortunate list.
– Imo: Governor Rochas has made two things known; one – that he seeks to install his son in-law as successor and unsurprisingly number two – that he intends to contest the Senate race, a situation that has terribly divided the party at the state level. The party is still involved in a legal tussle arising from the state congresses in the state. Although Okorocha is an incumbent, he has lost control of the party loyalty and the NWC is hesitant to jeopardise its only South East state on the platform of one man’s greed. However, it might be too late as the main challenger to Okorocha’s reign, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume has reportedly defected to opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance.
The Two Winners
– Adamawa: Governor Bindow is the winner here. With the APC NWC giving him the indirect option, he stands in a safer position than he was. Bindow had been consumed by an internal coup within the party as the state executive adopted the direct primaries in which he would be challenged by former EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu and the brother to First Lady Aisha Buhari, Mahmoud Halilu, both candidates who enjoy the backing of several actors within and around the Presidency.
The party NWC expressly banned the state excos from participating at the primaries citing their obvious bias for one of the candidates opposed to Bindow.
– Kaduna: Governor El-rufai can take a breather for a minute. The governor has failed to manage his political loyalties – a situation that has pitted him against all the three senators representing the state, a situation that led to the formation of about three party factions in the state. Opponents of Governor El-rufai, including his arch rival Senator Shehu Sani insisted on having direct primaries across all positions in the state. Notwithstanding the NWC stood with the position of the state APC executives which had adopted the indirect primaries system. The NWC’s decision has already been rejected by a group of stakeholders within the party at the state level.