As the critical journey towards the next electoral process in 2019 gathers momentum, the polity has been awash with reports of proposed mock primaries in the Imo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, by Governor Rochas Okorocha.
The governor who is being accused of favouring his Son-inlaw and the Chief of staff to succeed him. In a recent function in Owerri, the Imo state capital, the governor was quoted as saying that the proposed mock primaries would enable the party in the state harmonise itself ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He had maintained that the proposed mock primary exercise would guard against the creation of bad blood, bickering and squabbles within aspirants wishing to fly the party’s flag in the next general elections, while also saving them against unnecessary wasteful expenses in a full-blown primaries.
However, the announcement of this exercise has elicited various opinions and negative reactions from members, as well as critical stakeholders of the party in the state, among whom are; former Secretary to the state government, Sir Jude Ejiogu and a onetime House of representatives aspirant for Ohaji-Egbema/Oguta/Oru west federal constituency, Chief Goddy Esom Obodo, etc.
Obodo’s argument is worth looking at, because according to him, those of them who participated in the mock primaries in 2015 elections spent double in both the mock and the primary election proper.
One may be wondering what the governor intends to achieve with this purported exercise since it is so obvious that the term and process is alien to the APC constitution, and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
According to some of these concerned stakeholders of the party in the state, the purported mock primary is undemocratic, as it infringes on their rights to vote and be voted for.
We support that such process which is unknown to the letters and spirits of the APC constitution should be discountenanced and jettisoned immediately, and let the proper thing be done.
Free, fair and credible party primaries should be allowed to take place and party delegates whose responsibility it is to elect candidates for the party must be allowed to exercise their full rights without any coercion, compulsion and manipulation in line with the APC constitution and the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, as amended.
We support and encourage participatory democracy, where people’s rights and freedoms are respected against any intimidation and subversion by any known and unknown authority or force.
Governor Rochas Okorocha who is the leader of the party in the state should be reminded that for the APC to maintain its relevance, dominance and pace in the state come 2019, actions which are considered inimical to the growth and development of the party must be shown the exit door.