By Emmanuel Mogbede
Abuja – The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it will adopt the direct primary election to pick its candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
Gov. Simeon Lalong of Plateau made this known while briefing the media at the end of the party’s 6th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhamnadu Buhari is APC preferred presidential candidate as he has been endorsed by different organs of the party for a second term.
Lalong explained that the Constitution of the party “provides for either direct, indirect or consensus, but for the presidential election, we all agreed that we will adopt direct primaries.
“Also, a recommendation was made by the National Working Committee (NWC) that states should adopt the indirect mode, but there may be situations that this might be difficult in the states, looking at their peculiarities.
”But the general option is that we go in for indirect option but any state that has a problem and will want to deviate is at liberty to write, following the normal process, with a resolution from the State Executive to the National Executive,” he said.
Lalong said that the NEC meeting also discussed the mode and guidelines for the 2019 general election, funding and the necessity for unity within the party following recent defections by some members.
He, however, added that rather than affect the party negatively, the gale of defections had strengthened it more.
The governor disclosed that the party’s NWC had been mandated to look into issues of electoral sequence that was raised after deliberations in line with the Electoral Act.
He also stated that a standing committee had been set up to look at the party’s funding for the coming elections, and stated that automatic ticket for party members was not discussed at the meeting.
“We didn’t discuss the issue of automatic ticket, but we discussed that yes, patriotic and loyal party members should be rewarded but not necessarily with automatic ticket,” he said.
Lalong said that meeting also looked at the issue of N21 million Expression of Interest and Nomination Form fee for governorship aspirants in the party as proposed by the NWC.
He said the cost was debated and was left to the party’s NWC to consider the views expressed and come up with “a reasonable figure”.