The Chairman of the APC in Edo, Chief Anselem Ojezua, affirmed on Thursday that the State Executive Council (SEC) of the party has the responsibility to determine the option to follow in the primaries to choose a governorship candidate.
Ojezua gave the clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin, amid the raging tussle between the two factions of the APC in Edo.
The two factions have been at odds on the type of process to be adopted on the Edo governorship primaries, coming up later this month.
Ojezua said it was up to various state chapters of the party to decide which option was acceptable to them, based on peculiarities in their states.
According to him, the Constitution of the APC, however, recognizes both the direct and indirect form of primaries.
He explained that it was based on this that the National Working Committee of the party came out with a time-table that made SEC to meet with critical stakeholders to take a decision to adopt indirect primaries, based on peculiarities in Edo.
Ojezua noted that this was so because of the measures, protocols and rules put in place by both the federal and state governments, regarding crowding, social distancing and other measures to deal with COVID-19.
“The need to protect the health and safety of our members as well as those who would be exposed as they travel back and forth the 192 wards and later converging in the state capital would make all the gains and restraints in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 a wasted effort if direct primaries was adopted.
“So we felt it would be better to go to one location that is large enough to accommodate the total number of delegates while preserving the requirements for social distancing.
“Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium was suggested because it has a sitting capacity of 15,000, whereas the total delegates are not more than 3,600. So social distancing is assured and transparency too.”
Ojezua recalled that that the last governorship primaries was held at the same venue, using the same indirect method.
“Why change it now? The event was peaceful and transparent that time. There was no issue.
“Now, there is hostility and suspicion.’’
Ojezua said that what was important was that the decision on what form of primary to adopt was best for the states to make and that what the SEC in Edo had done was in compliance with that decision.
The APC chief expressed his optimism on the chances of incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki clinching the ticket of the party in the primaries, slated for June 22.
He said that the governor had performed well to be rewarded with another term in office.
“Obaseki has brought civility, decency and development to the state in his administration.
“In 2016, we had 14 aspirants and 11 took forms and he defeated them. The result of this one won’t be different,” said Ojezua.
Five aspirants have so far obtained the party’s expression of interest form, to contest the primaries, a check by NAN correspondent showed.