…backs right of first refusal for Obaseki
…insists direct primary not feasible, insensitive and irresponsible amid COVID-19 pandemic
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Prince Austin Eweka, has rejected the direct primary mode adopted by the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee of the party for the selection of candidates that will fly the party’s flag in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State.
The former National Vice Chairman, South- south of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, (the party that gave birth to the APC), declared that Governor Godwin Obaseki deserves the right of first refusal as practiced by the leading APC.
Addressing the 10-man mobilisation committee of Oredo ward 1, in Benin City, Prince Eweka said: “it’s disrespectful not to honor the right of first refusal and wrong to use the instrument of office to work against a governor of your own party.”
He maintained that “Oshiomhole is running the party like a garrison”, and stressed that “Governor Obaseki is popular in the party and will emerge the party’s gubernatorial candidate and standard bearer, no matter what method of primary adopted.”
According to him, “Anything short of consensus is disrespectful to the performing governor who deserves to be rewarded by the party for his sterling performance in his first four years.”
Prince Eweka called on the leadership of the APC “to stop Oshiomhole from driving the party off the cliff,” adding that “Oshiomhole has no regard for human life, otherwise we won’t be discussing direct primaries in this period of covid-19, when the world is trying to observe social distancing and isolation.
It’s so insensitive and selfish of the national chairman to propose direct primary method.”
The APC chieftain queried: “Would it be right for the same government (our party) that made the law of isolation and social distancing to be the same one violating the same laws because of party primaries and especially because you want to fight the governor? And you just throw caution to the wind? Is that not selfish?”
Prince Eweka noted: “We gave Oshiomhole the right of first refusal by consensus in 2012 as Governor. Why is he circumventing the process now? He asked.
The condemnation of the direct primary method adopted by the Oshiomhole-led NWC by the influential APC leader in the state, follows similar calls by well meaning Nigerians, who fear that dragging all registered APC members in the state out of their homes for a party primary election amid a pandemic, is akin to asking people to proceed to their graves, more so, with the rising figures of people testing positive for the disease across the country.