I had the privilege and honour of watching Senator Abe live on Channels TV today. He spoke on the politics of selection of candidates by political parties in Nigeria. He spoke on APC selection of candidates, especially as it affects Rivers state governorship race for 2019.
Let me apologize to him for my earlier post and comment on the issue of appealing that he suspends his ambition. I take that back noting his inalienable right to contest for that office; a right he shares with anybody living in Rivers state.
If I get him right, he recognizes the Minister of Transport as the party leader in the State. It is this recognition that is encouraging me to put up this opinion. I get the impression that he is agreeing with the leader’s non-support for his right to contest for the office of the governor of Rivers state.
I learnt from him that the constitution of the party allows for the choice of candidates through:
I have argued that direct primaries are a must moving forward in Nigeria. It must be part of our electoral laws. I, therefore, share his views that direct primaries are the most appropriate.
The problem now is that the party’s present constitution does not rule out indirect primaries. Many other states would also adopt the indirect primaries.
That brings me to the main issue of the post. He made it clear that he will not participate in indirect primaries conducted by state exco which according to him have pending issues in court. This is where all parties must put our house together.
I expect all candidates for the position of governor of Rivers state, having recognized the leadership of the Minister of Transport, to hold a stakeholders meeting where the contentious issues are discussed and resolved.
I have written here to say that endorsement is part of electioneering process. The Minister of Transport, therefore, reserves the right not to endorse Senator Abe. Nobody, however, should be denied equality of opportunity. To create the impression that we are denying him fair chance to contest really hurts.
Negotiation and dialogue will set matters straight. I am glad that we all accept we have one leader of the party in Rivers state. I am careful not to cross certain lines which could affect reconciliation and inclusive party spirit.
Finally, Senator Abe must have the humility of accepting the verdict of the party after his struggles. He has made and is making his case to the leadership of the party.
Let fairness and mutual respect prevail. Privately, the issues can be resolved. I don’t want to go beyond this. Ultimately, the issue is about the number! Who has the number?
Andrew Efemini is a professor of philosophy.