The clamour by former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, that the party should give automatic tickets to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his counterpart in Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has been condemned by Chief Lanre Razak, a stalwart of the party in Lagos State.
He said apart from being unconstitutional, undemocratic and disappointing, the suggestion showed that the elder statesman still has an axe to grind with his successor in office, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, urging Oyegun to be part of genuine attempt to find a lasting solution to the crisis rocking the party in the state rather than take side with the governor.
Razak, who is a former commissioner for public transportation in Lagos State, in a statement on Thursday said: “I felt disappointed in Oyegun’s prescribed solution to the crisis in Edo APC when he suggested that our great party should give automatic tickets to candidates in two states when he knew too well that doing so is not only undemocratic but unconstitutional.
“And his point of view has exposed him that he has not fully forgiven Comrade Adams Oshiomole, the man that took over from him as the National Chairman of the party when he was still interested in the position. “We expect that as a former National Chairman of APC and elder statesman he should learn how to forgive and forget. As at now, we look upon him as a part of those who should be proffering solution to the crisis rocking the party and not to take side thereby complicating matters.
He should allow direct primaries throw up the best candidate who will fly the party’s flag and be accepted by the electorate in Edo State rather than promote the candidacy of the incumbent governor’’. Razak who is also the Balogun- General of Epe advised members of the party in Edo State to allow democracy takes its full course, and while exercising their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right to vote and be voted for should remember that they belong to the same political family and make fair play, discipline, decency, and peace their watchwords.
“They should see the contest as a game and not a do-or-die affair where a winner and loser must emerge and should comport themselves peacefully before and after the primary so that after the exercise they can unite and defeat the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to win the governorship seat for APC in the state on September 19, 2020.
Meanwhile, Razak has applauded the direct primary adopted by the National Working Committee, NWC of the APC for the governorship primary fixed for June 22, in Edo State, insisting that a progressive party like the APC should not bar aspirants from exercising their rights to contest any public office on the ground that the incumbents ‘have performed’ and should be given ‘right of first refusal’, which is not contained in the APC constitution and therefore null and void.
He said: “Regarding the 2020 Edo gubernatorial election, I fully support the APC NWC’s decision to conduct direct primaries in Edo State while a decision is being awaited on Ondo State. In doing so, it relied on the powers and provision of Article 13.4 (XIV) which unequivocally states that NWC shall “Organise Primary Election for the nomination of its Presidential Candidates, Governorship Candidates and Candidates for election into the National and State Assemblies.
“I strongly believe that a direct and not indirect primary offers the best opportunity for the incumbent governors to test their popularity among the members of our great party since they claimed to be very popular instead of hiding under the COVID-19 pandemic safety concerns to impose themselves on the party if they are allowed to have their way.
“But officials of the party saddle with the responsibility of conducting the primaries should ensure that there is a level playing field for all contestants while the exercises should be free, fair and devoid of any manipulation. “As a matter of fact, if other aspirants are jostling for Obaseki’s job in Edo for example, it tells you that our members are hungry for a change in the status quo in the ‘Heartbeat’ State. Denying them their constitutionally guaranteed right to contest the primary therefore will amount to a great injustice and a rape on democracy’’.