All Progressives Congress (APC) members from Lokoja-Kogi Federal Constituency on Wednesday called on the National leadership of the party to adopt direct party primaries in electing its candidates for the 2019 General Elections.
Mr Ahmed Adam, chairman of APC Progressives of the constituency, made the call on behalf of other members at a Press Conference in Lokoja, said any deviation from internal democratic principles, and attempt to impose candidates on the people, would be counter-productive.
Adam said that only few days ago, Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly convened a meeting and announced Sen. Smart Adeyemi as government’s preferred candidate.
“This decision took us by surprise, especially that His Excellency, the Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the State and National Party Organs, have expressed their determination for a process that will allow for internal democracy in throwing up candidates that will serve as the people’s representatives.
“This decision for us, has not only denied we, the people, the right to choosing our candidates for the forthcoming elections, but has revealed that the impunity we have longed claimed the APC is set to correct, is at best, worst with our democracy in Kogi State.
“We reject any attempt at imposing Sen. Smart Adeyemi on us as our candidate; it would create disaffection within the APC, and consequently lead to mass defection; we frown against autocratic rule in APC Kogi West, to impose on us, a candidate who lost woefully in 2015”, he said.
Adam said that based on the rotational arrangement on ground, it was the turn of Yagba Federal constituency to produce a senator for the Kogi West Senatorial District.
According to him, a level playing field for a free and fair party primaries must be created for the party candidates to succeed in 2019.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only Tuesday, Concerned Okun Youth Forum from Kogi West Senatorial District called on the APC to maintain it’s stand on direct primaries and provision of level play ground for all eligible contestants.
Their spokesperson and National chairman of the forum, Omosona Olakunle, said the forum was opposed to imposition of Sen. Smart Adeyemi on the people, saying that the declaration contravened the party’s stance on internal democracy.
Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Prince Matthew Kolawole, while speaking with newsmen on the matter, said political leaders in Kogi West APC came together to prune down the number of aspirants from the district to brighten their chances.
Kolawole said the meeting included the four major contenders who also saw reason to work together, adding that the choice of Smart Adeyemi was in view of his experience, the charisma and the connection to provide quality representation.
The speaker, however said that the arrangement to work for a candidate did not foreclose the chances of other aspirants who might want to contest.