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Enugu APC Disowns Foreign Affairs Minister Over Comment on Direct Primary

From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Enugu state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, has asked its members particularly those vying for various political offices to  discountenance a recent statement credited  to the Minister of foreign Affairs,  Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama that the state has adopted direct primaries mode for its forthcoming party primaries, maintaining that the indirect or consensus mode earlier unanimously agreed by members of the state working committee stands.

It said the Minister does not have the power to make such statement or counter a decision taken by the SWC, which acted in line with the directives of the national body of a party.

State chairman of the party, Dr.  Ben Nwoye, who, made the clarification on Monday while briefing newsmen at the APC Secretariat in Enugu, shortly at the end of its stakeholders meeting.

Nwoye spoke as the Director General D-G of Voice of Nigeria VON, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, declared that nobody was afraid of direct primaries in Enugu, but that they were being pragmatic, reasonable and rational because of its cost implication.

Recall that Minister Onyeama had at the weekend announced that Enugu State APC adopted direct primaries mode for its primaries, a statement the stakeholders insisted was misleading.

The Minister, who is leading some alleged aggrieved members of the party in the state, stated this after a meeting of another stakeholders at a Hotel in Enugu,

Reacting to the statement, Nwoye dissociated Enugu state APC from the purported meeting, saying what the Ministe said was “absolute and blatant falsehood.”

According to Nwoye, “Enugu APC State Executive Committee (SEC) met as directed through a letter by the National Chairman, Adam Oshiomhole, and unanimously adopted the indirect primaries and consensus mode for its primaries, accusing the Minister of attempting to upturn the party resolution by telling the public that Enugu State APC adopted direct primaries.

He said: “as directed by the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, 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 Enugu APC helmsman, also  accused the Minister of trying to destabilize the party because of the senatorial ambition of one woman and his close associate.

Addressing the stakeholders earlier the VOV boss, 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 by 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 of 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 administration 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 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, however, challenged those advocating 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, insisting that the state does not have the financial capacity to go for direct primaries.

 

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