Ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries, the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, says the party will not field candidates he described as opportunists seeking the platform of the party to achieve selfish interests.
Referring to the defection of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Oshiomhole said the party has learnt from the mistake of the past where “bread and butter” politicians were given tickets of the party.
According to a statement by his chief press secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, the chairman stated this while addressing members of the screening committee of the party.
He also lamented that his National Working Committee (NWC) since assuming office has been tackling issues arising from the last congresses of the party.
“In many of the states, we had challenges arising from the way congresses were conducted. Many of them were quite fraudulent, that has been the challenge we have been trying to resolve since we came. Screening of aspirants is not a formality, that is why we tried to search for men and women of integrity who cannot be compromised.
“We do not want to field opportunists who are simply seeking a political vehicle for some selfish purposes. What has happened in recent past is enough for us to begin to look at the character of those who are seeking office on the APC platform.”
He said the party seeks people who have the intellectual capacity to articulate issues on the basis for which laws and bills are considered and those who have capacity to carry out oversight functions to ensure that Nigerians get value for money. Thus, screening of candidates, he said, should not be a formality.
“If before now we have taken for granted the powers of the National Assembly, how those powers can be used for national goals and how it can also be misused to undermine national progress, the current situation we are facing here, where two principal officers have chosen to put their personal interest over and above the national interest, refusing to consider budget meant for physical infrastructure, budget meant to re-order the way our budget is executed, to move money away from consumption which recurrent expenditure represents to capital projects which will benefit our people.
“And even refusing to approve money meant for the body charged with the responsibility of conducting elections in 2019. For us as a party, we have chosen to learn from the positive lessons from this development so that we do not repeat those mistakes by selecting people who as far as human capacity is we can assess and predict that, if elected, they will remain faithful not only to our party but more importantly to the Nigerian nation.
“If we have disagreement, it will not be about juicy appointments, it will be about appropriate policies, it will be about how governance is impacting positively on the lives of Nigerians. It will not be about who is getting what, politics of sharing.”
Mr Oshiomhole, however, said he is proud of the present senators of the party and it will be ‘ungodly”not to reward them.
“As we speak, I am proud that we have 57 senators who have refused to be induced or misled or otherwise manipulated into moving to other parties or reward for juicy positions. They have decided to remain in our party even with all the intimidation they have suffered.”