No fewer than 500 youths of the All Progressive Congress (APC) from the 33 local government and 35 local council development areas of Oyo State on Tuesday protested use of indirect primaries to determine party flag bearers in elections.
The youths, carrying placards with various inscriptions, expressed their rejection of the indirect mode of primary and imposition of candidates.
They said the methods had over the years led to emergence of unpopular candidates, which affected the party performance in elections.
Speaking at the Oyo State Secretariat of the APC, Oke Ado, Ibadan where the protest held, the youth groups, under the aegis of APC Youth Vanguards, held placards with some inscriptions.
Some of them read: “Oyo wants direct primary in Nigeria and Ondo”; “Oyo wants direct primary elections in APC”, “APC wants direct primary in Ondo”, “APC wants direct primary in all state”, “APC needs Ondo” and “President Buhari, please save APC.”
Others read: “Save APC in Ondo”; “We advocate for direct primary in Ondo” and “Direct Primary, no indirect Primary”.
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One of the youth leaders, Adelekan Julius, said: “We are here to let our leaders know what we are facing not only in Oyo state but throughout the country concerning the party. We can see what is happening big here and there concerning the primaries and we believe that if there is direct primaries in states where we are having election very soon, like Ondo and Edo state, direct primaries will not give room for godfatherism.
“In other words we want the primary elections to be direct primary so that our people can vote for the candidate of their choice and not that they will impose anybody on them, so we believe that our leaders in Oyo state can help us to let the National leaders know what we are facing not only in Oyo state but across the country as per our primary elections. They can help us ensure that there is direct primary in Ondo state.”
Another leader, Olayioye Olayinka, said the protest was coming at the time because of the situation in Ondo state and “the issue of imposition, consensus and direct primaries have been a stumbling block for the progress of the party. Although we have been nurturing it silently and which has been difficult for us to come out but we knew it is high time we came out so that we can let people know how it is really affecting us.
“The situation has affected the youths badly. We are using the protest to send signals to all the party leadership not only in Oyo state but nationally so that all our leaders need to see. We as progressive youths are saying no to consensus candidates, godsons, imposition of candidates and indirect primaries any more.”
He assured that similar protest was ongoing in Ondo state to show youths are united across the region and country on the demand.
Another leader, Ademola Sangokunle from Afijio local government, said the purpose of the protest was to call attention of the member of the National Working Committee(NWC) from the state to the situation through the state party leaders, especially as it relates to the demand of the youths.
Reacting, Oyo State APC Secretary, Mr Mojeed Olaoye, who led some officials of the party to address the protesters, assured that the state will communicate the demands to the appropriate quarters, commending the youths for being peaceful in their approach