National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Muiz Banire, has said imposition of candidate may cost the party Lagos State in the coming election.
“To be candid, I am unable to say what it will be like because of what is going on within the party. My only hope is that we are able to be transparent, fair and just in the nomination process,” he said in an interview with online news medium Premium Times, adding, “Once we are able to do that, I will consider it very bright, but if otherwise, I am not too sure what that will portend for us.”
In a letter cited by the Nigerian Tribune, Banire accused the APC of scientific imposition.
This he wrote in reaction to an article which condemned him for saying at a lecture in Lagos that Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, won re-election because he was a better and bigger brand than the party.
“The allegation of imposition in our party is not as jejune in nature as the writer tried to paint same.
“Our understanding and definition of imposition is more scientifically determined than his understanding of it. Where in a primaries election an aspirant scored the majority votes and the loser was rather imposed by an overlord, can he give us a worse instance of scientific imposition than that?
“As a leader of the party, I received petitions against imposition on a daily basis during any electioneering process and yet some people would prefer that we must keep quiet. What is the usefulness of featuring candidates rejected by the members of the party only to satisfy the political gusto of some few individuals?
“This menace has wiped away the needed sense of political responsibility among our office holders and now people have been comparing us negatively with our political opponents.
“The need to project the party in favourable light to the people has made some us compulsory advocates of the truth,” he wrote.
Speaking further in the interview with Premium Times, Banire stated that “There is a tendency of imposition on the people. A lot of people are out to resist it and party members too appear to be on the same plane with those that are leading the struggle against the imposition of candidate. So I believe that it does not signal anything that is good for all of us,” Banire stressed.
Reminded that a party leader once said imposition method had been working for the party, Banire replied, “well, if it has worked, the first question one would want to ask such a person, particularly if you are referring to Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu), as if his own emergence was not as a result of hand picking in 1998. We had direct primaries all over Lagos and Babatunde Fashola will tell you that he is not a product of single-handed imposition.
“So I did not know where that person would have got such an impression from. Let’s even assume that to be, the truth of the matter is that it is no more fashionable now, even if he had been doing it before.
“Secondly, this is a new party, and you recall our slogan is ‘change,’ that we are trying to do away with all those untoward things like lack of internal democracy. So I believe that it must not even be allowed to happen now, even if it had been happening in the past. It is not progressive. If anybody claims to be progressive, he must not be seen to be advocating that kind of backdoor emergence of candidates.”
Banire said imposition “causes a lot of factionalisation, unnecessary ones, and we’ve had the consequence once and I kept on saying it. During the last local government elections, we had a similar experience. Some of our party members went to vote against our candidates. So it’s no news. So it could wreak a lot of damage.
“The level of frustration is so much within the system. Most of the people that I have come across that have struggled within the party seem to be frustrated already. In fact, it has taken my intervention to arrest largely the drift of people to the opposition party and I believe that if you are giving them assurance you must be able to secure that assurance to the last, because if you fail, then you may not be able to control anybody. It could happen, more so that the PDP is advancing seriously against us in the state. So I do not believe that we should play to their hands at all.”