*Insists party yet to zone presidential ticket
National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Felix Morka, yesterday, clarified that presidential nomination forms sold by the ruling party were 28, while 133 forms were purchased by governorship aspirants.
Morka said as of yesterday, 25 of the 28 presidential forms sold had been returned, but he could not ascertain how many out of the 133 gubernatorial forms were returned.
On the extension of APC’s primaries and the use of Eagle Square, Abuja, for the exercise, he denied any attempt to bully the opposition.
Morka, who spoke at The Morning Show on Arise News Channel, explained, “For presidential, we had 28 aspirants purchase forms for the office of president, of which 25 were returned and submitted and three were not. Now, for governorship, we have 133 forms purchased, however, I don’t have the exact figures of those who have returned.”
Morka said APC was yet to zone its presidential ticket.
He stated, “Every member of the party has rights; rights to aspire, and rights to support those who aspire. That’s a freedom we cherish and it is constitutional liberty that they have the freedom to associate with any aspirant or support anyone they choose.
“But the issue of zoning, and quite frankly, I’m a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of our party and I have not been privy to any discussions that have resulted in any kind of decisions about zoning. We have not made any decision at this time about zoning.
“So, all of those reports are purely speculative, they do not represent any decisions made by our party, because we have yet to make any decision on that. The party will make that call and when they do, I think that everyone will be advised as to that position and then to act accordingly.”
Speaking on the appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for time extension, he said, “It’s not just the APC, all the other parties unanimously did request an extension of time by INEC, which request has yet to be granted. Now, the reason is that the pressure that we feel, based on these very stringent timelines, is not exclusive to our party. It’s shared by other parties as well.
“So, yes, a little bit of extension would be helpful, even though we can’t guarantee that INEC could make that decision, but we were hoping that they would because if they did, it will not significantly affect the timelines imposed by the Electoral Act. As a matter of fact, the timelines we’re dealing with right now are based on INEC’s own guidelines, not quite the Electoral Act.
“So, there’s a bit of wriggle room if INEC wanted to grant just a couple of weeks, even a month of extension, but to be very helpful to ease some of the pressure that we feel currently. But, irrespective, I think that we are working hard to meet those deadlines that INEC has set.
“We are not playing minds games with any party on the other side, we made the adjustments based on a very realistic assessment of where we are in the process of documenting for INEC. As you know, INEC has imposed very strict timelines by which parties must submit lists of their candidates that will participate in the next elections.
“And on our side, we have a lot of internal processes to sort through before that. So we simply extend that but just a bit of time to enable us to conclude those steps in a way that guarantees the integrity, if you will, of the information that we give to INEC.”
On the use of Eagle square as convention venue, he said, “We are not in the business of bullying anyone, and I’m quite sure that our friends on the other side will not admit that they were bullied. But the fact of the matter is that, yes, I am aware that the Eagle Square is one of the venues we are looking at, but I cannot confirm at this time whether or not that is actually the venue that we will be using for our presidential convention.”