Posted by News Express | 3 October 2018 | 2,956 times
The Coalition of 2019 APC Presidential Aspirants has rejected the ruling party’s presidential election of September 28, 2018 in which President Muhammadu Buhari ran as the sole aspirant after a group of admirers purchased the N45.5 million Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms for him.
The aggrieved aspirants said in a statement issued on Tuesday, signed by Dr. SKC Ogbonnia and Alhaji (Barrister) Mumakai-Unagha: “First and foremost, the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is unopposed as the flag-bearer of our great party for the 2019 elections is not only grossly disingenuous but also a figment of the imagination of latent lackeys grandstanding as presidential handlers. The truth is that we neither stepped down for the president nor suspended our ambition to be president under the platform of the APC in 2019. Buhari is merely being imposed, but such plot will fail.
“Second, denying qualified citizens their right to seek public office is constitutionally ultra vires. Neither the Constitution of the Federal Republic nor the Constitution of the APC promotes prohibitive nomination fees, which the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Executive Committee is employing to exclude thousands of party faithful, particularly the youth and women, from exercising their right to seek public office. Neither the Constitution of the Federal Republic nor the Constitution of the APC recognizes the bogus clause, Right To First Refusal, which the party leadership assumed to sideline Buhari’s fellow aspirants from the presidential primary. It is also worthy of note that, while the idea of the “right to first refusal” is promoted for the executive office of the president, the opposite is the case for the executive offices of the governors where notable relatives of party leaders, including Buhari’s in-laws, are aspirants.
“Third and very critically, there was no level playing ground in the party’s screening exercise. While serving ministers and governors were subjected to a rigorous screening exercise, no attempt was made whatsoever to re-evaluate President Buhari’s qualifications, with special attention to his educational and other certificates, state of health, fidelity to the party as well as national principles in context of the Nigerian multiethnic state, and much more.
“Fourthly, the Direct Primary model employed in the said primary election was a monumental sham. Of course, the idea of direct primary in the current political dispensation is novel and comparable to the “American-style direct presidential primaries”, as Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, would want to vaunt, but the American political parties are not better known for schemes which exclude their party members from participating in the electoral process. For instance, unlike in America, qualified Nigerian aspirants are being denied the right to compete within the APC on a false premise that a sitting president has the right to first refusal. Unlike in America, there is no updated APC party register across the over 8,000 wards in Nigeria, causing some states to revert to the 2014 register, which automatically excluded millions of party members who registered after 2014. Even worse, and very unlike in America, findings from the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have confirmed that millions of party members were disenfranchised, as election did not hold in a majority of the wards. Needless to mention that President Buhari’s blatant failure to vote in the said primary only goes to ridicule the process. Yet, the election was deemed highly successful, with the president being proclaimed the winner.
“In conclusion, we strongly believe in the APC as a beacon of hope for our democratic future. But we must lead by example. We must reposition the party as a model for true change. “Therefore, this coalition is not against Mr. President as a person; we only demand that justice, equity and fair play should be the order of the day. To that end, we insist that the party should, as a matter of urgency, create the level playing ground for all aspirants to the various elective offices. We insist on a true presidential primary election where all the APC presidential aspirants are allowed the opportunity to participate. We resist imposition.
“We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to our teaming supporters; and other aspirants to various offices, especially the youth and women, who feel disenfranchised, to remain calm and law abiding. We hear you, the silent majority. We hear you, the Not-Too-Young-To-Run candidates who feel their hopes are being dashed. But be rest assured that we are committed to the founding principles of the APC, a progressive party. We are doing everything within the law to ensure equal opportunity for all members of our great party, as well as our fellow citizens, in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
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