The National Executive Committee of the All Progressive Congress is reportedly at the verge of reducing the number of delegates for its forthcoming presidential primaries to below 15,000.
It was learnt that this is as a result of several meetings held by the Oyegun-led national executive of the party.
The NEC was mandated to fine-tune modalities for the indirect primaries which were agreed upon.
An initial proposal, which was to include all party officials from the ward up to the federal level, was jettisoned when it was discovered that about 30,000 delegates will be involved.
A highly placed party said that “It is only logical that we trim down the number from 300,000 to a manageable size of say 10,000 or 15,000 maximum.”
Supporters of former Head of State, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari had proposed that, in the event that the party was not disposed to a consensus candidate, it should go for direct primary.
The direct primary will entail all duly registered members of the party at all levels. They will be involved in choosing the flag bearer.
The Director-General of the General Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Alhaji Umaru Dembo, defended the call for a consensus candidate.
He said, “If the PDP can go for a consensus candidate and we are the biggest party on the other side, it will be normal, it will be alright if we also have a consensus (candidate) so that there wouldn’t be any rancour or worries.
“It is not that anybody is afraid of a contest. If the other candidates are willing to go for a consensus, so are we. If not, everybody will be ready for a contest.”
According to him, this will not be the first time Buhari will be contesting neither will it be the first time a consensus candidate will be agreed upon and ratified at a convention, if it so happens. He expressed the hope that whatever eventually happens will be the best for the campaign.
He also said barring any last minute change, Buhari would make a formal bid for the ticket on October 10. [eap_ad_1] Dembo said, “It was to have taken place on the (|October) 8 but because of so many things affecting logistics it cannot be more than two days after the 8th.”
The Managing Director of the Atiku Media Office, Mallam Garba Shehu, also defended the Atiku group’s support for the indirect primaries already agreed upon.
When contacted, the national publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, confirmed the development.
He, however, said he was not at liberty to disclose the number of delegates.
He said “It is not a matter of pruning down the number of delegates. I think it is not the issue of 10,000 or 15,000; it is a matter of looking at the safety of delegates and conformity with the law. We want a situation where delegates will fit into the voting area.” (Punch)