…Says can’t preach discipline and habour without our core values
…Lagos, Imo primaries now holds Monday
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has said that the party cannot continue to preach discipline and harbour people who conduct themselves in a way that suggest that they do not have those core values that should bind the political party together.
Oshiomhole who spoke while inaugurating the committees for the various states governorship primaries challenged members of the various committees conducting the governorship primaries not to yield to pressure from any quarter, but to do their best to help the party improve internal democracy in the country.
He also announced that the governorship primaries in Lagos and Imo will not go ahead on Sunday due to logistics reasons, adding that the party has shifted to primaries in the two states to Monday, October 1.
He said “We have decided to postpone the election in Lagos to Monday even though it is public holiday, there is nothing in the law that says we cannot conduct our party affairs on the day of public holidays. So, Lagos and Imo States for now, the exercise will take place on Monday.
“We are sure that we will be able to rectify logistic challenges between now and end of tomorrow. For those going to those States, please take note, otherwise… The secretariat will get to the committees through the chairmen, the documents and all the materials you need – be it ballot papers, result sheets that you will use for the election”.
Oshiomhole who also explained the disqualification of two serving Ministers said that the time has come when the country must move away from paper qualifications in terms of who is eligible to contest political offices on the platform of the party
He said: “If we must sustain this tradition, obviously we must begin to look beyond paper qualifications in terms of who is eligible to be fielded on the platform of our party.
“It is in view of this and several other reasons that we found ourselves unable to clear otherwise two very eminent Nigerians who are members of our party, one a lady, one a man, which shows that we are balanced and sensitive because there are issues that might even be right in the eyes of the law but they are immoral and they are indecent in the eyes and in the minds of very ordinary, decent human beings.
“Society is governed and sustained by rule of law. But the rule of law alone is not enough to guarantee peace and progress. If there are no values, no ethics, no commitment, no passion, which is why some criminals are walking freely because Senior Advocates are able to persuade their Lordships that there are no convincing reasons to jail them.
“So, based on this commitment, we disqualified two eminent Nigerians and I am glad that we found the courage to do so. We cannot continue to preach discipline and harbour people who in our view conduct themselves in a way that suggest that they do not have those core values that should bind us together as a political party.”
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While asking the committee members not to succumb to pressure from any quarters, Oshiomhole told them to always remember that we live in a society where people hardly accept defeat even though they are aware that somebody must emerge winner at the end of the day.
He said “You are likely to come under pressure because we are in an environment in which nobody concede defeat and sometimes, those who win are not gracious enough to recognize that it does not have to be winner takes all. In genuine democracy, everybody is a winner because if you govern well, you govern for the good of the people, everybody will be better off.
“The primary purpose of power is to use it to deliver on public welfare and public good. So, I plead with you to do your very best to try to strike a balance because we have all promised to do justice to all members of the party. So, do your very best so that at the end of the day, you will help us to deepen internal democracy.
“So, stepping out on Sunday to conduct elections, you have duty to sustain the core values of the APC which is to ensure that we conduct transparent primaries. Our constitution which is the basis of the contract between members of the APC to vie for couple of offices and our National Executive Committee is adhered to.
“We have decided to activate two of the options in our constitutions (direct and indirect). We have worked hard to provide some of the preconditions without which we can’t service internal democracy. As we speak, we have our membership register which has been distributed to the 36 states.
“I believe that we have compelling reasons to conduct credible primaries across the country. The guidelines have been well articulated and we expect the Chairmen to provide leadership in all states where they have been deployed to.”
Oshiomhole also announced that 177 aspirants bought nomination forms to contest the 29 vacancies available on the platform, saying “We have only 29 vacancies for governors and to fill these 29 vacancies, we have distinguished Nigerians, men and women, about 177 that applied.
“This does not suggest any unusual level of political or executive unemployment. It just points to the level of interest, commitment, passion and above all the confidence that people have in the APC.
“We have tried as much as we can to carry out a thorough screening exercise in way that will enable us to benefit from the recent things that have happened in our party and some of us believe that we can learn some positive lessons from there and reflect on the implications of such actions and reviewed the way in which we select people who contest elections on our platforms.
“We have to work consciously to move our party from a mere public taxi that people who are politically stranded can board and when they get to their destinations, they pay fees if they are kind enough to pay or they just jump out of the car and then we wait for the next passenger.
“We have to build a mass movement that is grounded in the hearts of the Nigerian people, membership-driven and to do that we must service our internal democracy.
“We must move away from top-down approach to decision making and consciously working to encourage a bottom-top approach so that the ordinary Nigerian who is a member of our party will have a sense of ownership, involvement, participation and equation.”
While inaugurating the Senator Abiola Ajimobi led National Convention Committee, Oshiomhole said the party wants to organize a national convention that will discuss the way forward for the country in addition to rectifying the Presidential candidate of the party.
He said “this committee reflects the ray of the future with gender balance. We want to organize a convention that is different. We want a convention that goes beyond electioneering our where traders and praise singers have a field day and try to do what needs to be done and discuss the Nigeria agenda, issues of governance and development, issues of economic and social choices and let us disagree and agree within that convention in addition to confirming the presidential candidate and maybe amend any section of the constitution that we might want to.
“We have barely one week to the convention and we appreciate the fact that you accepted to serve.
Speaking on behalf of the convention committee, Senator Ajimobi assured the party that will lay a solid foundation for the party’s victory in 2019.
He said “I thank you for giving us the opportunity to participate in laying the foundation for our 2019 electoral victory because if you see the quality of the foundation, you will know how the building will be.
“The foundation you have laid today is so solid that I have no doubt that we will succeed in 2019. We assure you that we will not let you down and promise to do our best to ensure that we are partners in securing victory for our party in 2019.
…Says can’t preach discipline and habour without our core values