All Progressives Congress Governors have been unable to agree on a common position on the direct mode of primaries imposed on political parties by the National Assembly.
It was gathered that the meeting between the 22 APC governors on Sunday ended with no consensus.
A meeting of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, which was held at the Kebbi State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, reportedly degenerated into a shouting match between two governors from the North-Central zone when the issue came up for discussion.
While some governors said to be sympathetic to the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, wanted the position of the National Assembly upheld, others argued that since democracy was all about choices, parties should be given options to choose from.
Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, who is one of the biggest advocates of power returning to the South in 2023, was the most vocal and spoke in favour of direct primaries, while others who preferred indirect primaries found a lead advocate in Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said, “The meeting started on a friendly note with the governors exchanging banters before getting down to the business of the day.
“They had agreed to propose February as the date for the convention to give room for the President to choose a day at his convenience for the event. This was done after a vote of confidence was passed in the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee and the party congresses held across the nation.
“Trouble, however, started when the issue of the amendment to the Electoral Act as passed by the National Assembly came up. Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, who spoke in favour of the direct primaries, used words which his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello, felt were offensive, and a war of words ensued. It took the intervention of the Chairman of the PGF and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, to restore calm.”
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Bagudu said the governors only discussed issues bordering on good governance.
When asked what decision was taken with respect to the direct primaries for the choice of candidates, he said the meeting with the President would present the final decision.
Despite the disagreement, The PUNCH learnt that Bagudu alongside Buni and Governor Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa State visited the President over the matter.
Bagudu has openly criticised the inclusion of the direct primary method in the Electoral Amendment Bill, which has been forwarded to the President Muhammadu Buhari.