The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, changed its mind on the issue of direct option to elect for the State and National Assembly elections in 2019.
The party had, on Tuesday, took a decision to adopt indirect primary contrary to the directive of the National Working Committee (NWC), the development that had led to a controversy in the conduct of the primaries already held in other states.
The Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC executive had, last week, directed that direct mode should be adopted in Ekiti State.
Citing insecurity in the state, the Paul Omotosho-led State Working Committee, on Monday, held an emergency meeting and overruled the NWC and adopted indirect option.
The development sparked violent protests, as aspirants besieged the APC secretariat in Ado-Ekiti to register their displeasure with the change of option by the State SWC.
The aspirants Bimbo Daramola, Olusegun Osinkolu, Yemi Olayinka, Toyin Ajakaye and Kayode Babade, accused the SWC of compromise and plot to impose preferred candidates by a certain leader of the party.
Newsmen learnt through a reliable source which claimed that; “Some leaders wanted indirect primary at all cost, but Oshiomhole insisted that the direct option became inevitable under this circumstance so that they can take care of all interests.
“So, we have no option than to allow all members to vote in the primary to test the popularity of the aspirants”, he said.
A statement by the party’s State Publicity Secretary, Ade Ajayi, on Wednesday, however, said the primary has been shifted till Thursday.
Ajayi said the party would now adopt direct system and that the primary will be held across the 177 wards in the state.
He said, “The National Working Committee had humbly directed that the mode of primary will be direct and it will be held on October 4 across the 177 wards.
“We thereby enjoin all party members to participate in the exercise”, the APC spokesman stated.
The SWC’s approval of indirect mode of primary had led to series of protests from contenders, which had elicited crisis that had made it impossible for the primary to be held since Tuesday.
When supporters of the aggrieved supported stormed the party secretariat, they removed all the flags in front of the one-storey building
Addressing journalists in Ado-Ekiti on the issue, Daramola, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues accused the state executives of doing the bidding of the governor-elect, to edge them out of the primary under the flimsy excuse of indirect primaries, contrary to the decision of the national secretariat.
“It was bad for the APC that just won the governorship election to be behaving in this manner. We were supposed to be given the opportunity to test our popularity in the primaries, rather than resorting to imposition.
“The Deputy National Chairman, South, governor-elect and other leaders of our party told us at Iyin-Ekiti resident of Chief Niyi Adebayo, that direct primaries will be used to pick the candidates.
“It was, however, unfortunate to receive a message on Sunday night that the earlier assurance at the meeting held with all aspirants had changed to indirect primaries.
“We have all been working on the agreement of direct primaries, it therefore became difficult to identify the so-called delegates because we don’t have access to the list,” he said.