As party considers direct primaries in Rivers State
Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress, on Thursday, said that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, cannot stop the party from fielding candidates in Rivers and Zamfara for the 2019 state elections.
Issa-Onilu in a press conference in Abuja said: “INEC is relying on the fact that courts of equal jurisdiction have given conflicting judgements, we can understand that.
“It is not over, and we will continue to take steps, we are very certain that we did the right thing.
“The primaries held, INEC was not satisfied with that, but it is our right to field candidates and we will follow up all the legal means to ensure that our candidates stand for elections in this 2019 general elections in Zamfara, same situation for Rivers.”
Issa-Onilu, however, commended INEC over its stance on the development, saying this showed that the commission was free from any interference from the APC and was not working for it as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed.
“May I remind all of us, that we had primaries in Zamfara which was affected by conflicts but the process allows for three different options.
“You could go for indirect primaries which is an electoral college, you could go for direct that allows every card member of the party to vote for their chosen candidates and then thirdly, you could go by consensus.
“We have the right under the Constitution to exhaust these options and we did so,”
Issa-Onilu said recalling that in Kano, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not conduct primaries and did not take any of the above options and INEC had not said anything about it.
The APC spokesperson noted that INEC accepted the names of all the candidates submitted by the PDP in Kano state and added that this was a fact that could not be denied.
According to him, despite this development, the APC will continue to trust and work with all institutions, following due process to ensure they did the right thing, because it believed that strong institutions were critical to the country’s development.
Issa-Onilu further argued that against the allegation that Buhari was not fit for second term, the president remains healthy.
“I will not honour the so-called CUPP with any response because they don’t exist,” he said arguing that the members of the CUPP are looking for space to team up with Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, as he has promised, so that when he gets to power, they will continue where they stopped.
“The president is hale and hearty, they started by saying the president will pass on his responsibility to campaign to the leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, that he was not fit enough to go round the country to talk to the people.
“But we have been doing well, more than their so called healthy presidential candidate, the president is still going round the country, as I am speaking, he is in Kano before a massive crowd never seen before.
“He has gone to lands where ordinarily you never expected anybody to come out, he got massive welcome, so we can understand where this is coming from,” he said.