BENIN CITY – A coalition of Edo professional under the aegis of Unuedo Renaissance has condemned in strong terms, the decision of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt the direct mode of primary in choosing the party’s flagbearer for the forthcoming gubernatorial election amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.
In a statement, the non-political group of professionals of Edo origin, noted that because Edo State, like other states across the country, has started to witness the community spread of the virus, it is imperative not to undertake any social and/or political activity that could exponentially increase the infection rate, and needlessly reverse the gains recorded in containing the pandemic.
The statement was jointly signed on behalf of the group by some members including Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, Mr. Emmanuel Ikazobah, Chief Lawson Omokhodion, Mr. Hector Etomi, Mr. Allan Omorogbe, Mr. Moses Aroko, Mr. Henry Omoragbon, Mr. Nuhu Yakubu and Barr. George Etomi.
Others are Chief (Dr) Pascal Ebhohimen, Mr. Isaac Ogbeide, Mr. Sam Obaze, Chief Albert Iyorah, Mr. Mike Osime, Mr. Celey Okogun, Mr. Soni Irabor, Mr. Macaulay Iyayi, Barr. Osayaba Giwa-Osagie, Barr. Kede Aihie Esq. (London) and Mrs. Sarah Esangbedo Ajose-Adeogun.
The group noted, “Even though the lockdown measures are gradually being eased nationwide, we observe that activities that are capable of attracting large gatherings, such as, conferences, large meetings, religious activities, political gatherings, social gatherings, parties, etc. remain the last set of activities that have been slated to re-open.
“It is against this background that we express grave concern about the plan to have direct primaries which will call out almost all registered members of the APC in the state, in their tens of thousands to vote in all their wards across the state. Whatever safety assurances the party makes, Edo Professionals are strongly opposed to the plan, and insist it is too risky to undertake, because it is guaranteed to cause more harm than good to Edo people. The rancorous nature of the APC political activities in the State makes this even more imperative to avoid.”
Calling for the adoption of the indirect mode of primary, the professionals added, “Since the indirect primary will be manageable and better suits the times, we urge that this method be adopted by the APC leadership to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus.
“We therefore call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Governor’s Forum, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the entire leadership of APC and well-meaning citizens of Edo State to heed our voice to ensure that Edo citizens’ lives are put ahead of any partisan and personal interest
The statement further reiterated, “The COVID-19 pandemic requires purposeful and responsible leadership to combat it. We need INEC and the political parties to come up with innovative solutions about how to conduct electioneering activities from party primaries to the conduct of general election, which will be due in a few months. At a most difficult period like this when most Nigerians in general and Edo State in particular are looking up to political institution like INEC and the political parties-APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for purposeful leadership, we are very disturbed about the lack of preparedness for the post COVID-19 challenges in the electioneering space.”