COVID-19: Reject Direct Primary Election, Concerned Edo Citizens Warn Political Parties

The direct mode of primary election adopted by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to select its candidate for the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo State is ruffling feathers in the polity in the state. The APC had fixed June 22 for its primary election in which incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki, and six other aspirants would be jostling for the party’s ticket. The National Working Committee, NWC of the party had on Thursday announced that it would be adopting direct primary in which all members of the party across the state would participate in the selection process.

But reacting to the development on Friday, a pressure group, Concern Edo Citizens Forum, (CECF), in the state flayed the choice, arguing that direct method of primaries was not advisable” at this material time of world pandemic because this system will further enhance the spread of coronavirus in the society”. Members of the group, therefore, cautioned political parties in the state to reject it, stressing that “We are first Edo people before election”. The major opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has however settled for indirect primary election, according to Harrison Omagbon, deputy state chairman of the party.

In a press statement jointly signed by the Convener and Secretary, Roy Oribhabor and Osamwonyi Ibude respectively, the group advised Edo people to maintain and abide by government’s guidelines in stemming the spread of COVID-19. Oribhabor and Ibude said “As concerned citizens, we are seriously worried about the political activities in Edo State because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s on record that this deadly virus has no respect for status and positions hence our worries”. We hereby call on all political parties in Nigeria contesting for gubernatorial election in Edo State to consider mode of primaries that will help reduce the spread of coronavirus and also reduce the potency accordingly”.

The CECF commended the President, Muhammadu Buhari, “for the mechanism employed so far to arrest the killer virus on rampage and ravaging the entire world without reliable cure and vaccine for now”, noting that deliberate act of basic hygiene, social distancing, and washing of hands always, as well as the use of hand sanitizer would help to prevent the spread.

Omagbon, former chairman of Edo State Sports Council, told the magazine that the party was determined to get the selection process right by conducting a credible primary election. “Well, by the last position that I know, it’s going to be by delegates’ election – indirect primary. Don’t forget that PDP as a party has stayed too long outside of government house, and today, the PDP family is going home, do our homework, and certainly come out with what we have as the best candidate among those contending now”.

Pius Odubu, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chris Ogiemwonyi, and Charles Airhiavbere,
Pius Odubu, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chris Ogiemwonyi, and Charles Airhiavbere,
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