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Civil War Looms in APC, As Primaries Divides Party in At Least A Dozen States

Adams Oshiomhole

As the All Progressives Congress party struggles to find its identity this primary season, it’s clear that the contests in most states continue to show the internal struggle for the party’s future direction.

The results speak volumes: parallel primaries in key battleground states and uncertainty remains around the Party’s ability to retake the central government next year.

The growing insurgency presents serious questions for the Party as it continues its progressive movement.

The National Working Committee (NWC) panel in charge of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election in Lagos state, has admitted that the exercise may be rescheduled.

Videos trending online shows voting in most parts of Lagos on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference Tuesday evening, the Chairman of the Lagos Governorship Electoral panel, Chief Clement Ebri, explained the confusion that trailed the exercise.

When asked what would happen to votes cast all day, he said: “I contacted the national office and I was asked to realign with the position on ground”, before admitting that “we may have to reschedule the exercise”.

In Abia state, aggrieved governorship aspirants  Tuesday alleged that a popular chieftain of the party in the state, induced the David Iyoha-led committee to influence the outcome of the governorship primary election in favour of one of the aspirants.

Comrade Chris Akomas, Rt. Hon. Martins Azubuike, Barrister Friday Nwosu and Chief Paul Ikonne all aspirants said, “The committee sent to come and conduct the primaries in Abia state for our election to produce the governorship flag bearer of the party, as we reliably gathered, has been compromised. That is why they are not following the guidelines of the party in conducting this primaries.

“Because there are some people that their names are not in that register. And we also reliably gathered that a popular chieftain of the party in Abia paid N100 million to the committee, because his name also, is not in that register, to make sure he secures that ticket for a particularly governorship aspirant”.

Another primary pitting two leaders against one another played out in Rivers state.

TWO candidates, Mr Tonye Cole and Senator Magnus Abe, emerged winners of the parallel governorship primaries conducted by both factions of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State.

Cole came out victorious in the indirect governorship primary held in Port Harcourt on Sunday when he polled 3,329 votes while Senator Magnus Abe was also declared winner in another primary with 144,929 votes.

Senator Hope Uzodinma defeated Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu to win the All Progressives Congress gubernatorial ticket in a primary conducted by Ahmed Gulak in Imo state.

Nwosu came seventh with just 10, 329 votes.

The All Progressives Congress has however, suspended the governorship primaries in the State indefinitely.

Party spokesperson, Yekini Nabena, did not give any reasons for the suspension in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The problem is the same in Lagos, Ogun, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, Cross River, Kwara, Enugu and Borno state.

It is time to move forward with a plan that unifies, rather than divides the party, or squander the opportunity to retake the National Assembly or the presidency come 2019, said some party leaders.

Aisha Alhassan, a party stalwart who resigned her appointment as women affairs minister and also dumped the APC on Saturday, has picked the United Democratic Party (UDP), nomination form to contest for the Taraba governorship seat leaving with hundreds of supporters and local party leaders.

Divided political parties rarely win presidential elections, according to a study by political science researchers at the University of Georgia and their co-authors. If the same holds true next year, the APC Party could be in trouble in the next presidential general election.

“History shows that when one party is divided and the other party is united, the divided party almost always loses the presidential election,” said Paul-Henri Gurian, an associate professor of political science at UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs. ”

The study found that divisive state primaries can lead to a 1 to 2 percent decrease in general elections votes in that state.

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