The Chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Bala Bantex on Monday debunked claims that candidates were handpicked in the “successful” national convention of the party on Friday last week.
Though he noted that quite a number of the contestants agreed to step down for their opponents, some were picked from a consensus. He, however, maintained that in either case – voting or consensus – “voting was done in each case” insisting that there were no areas in particular where the processes were flawed.
“There was a lot of horse-trading which produced some candidates on consensus basis particularly in the position of the national chairman and national secretary. And for other positions where there wasn’t an agreement to a consensus elections were conducted and candidates emerged,” he said on Sunrise Daily.
He said in politics those who do not come out victorious usually feel “aggrieved”, adding that the “good thing is that the party has internal processes within which such issues are sorted out”.
He noted that a committee made up of “reasonable members of the party” was in place to attend to the grievances of the politicians that lost out both in the state and national congresses.
For a new party, Mr Bantex said: “I would consider the congress a huge success in spite of the weather. What I saw that day was a rancour free process that ended up with those that were elected either by voting or consensus”.
The former federal lawmaker went ahead to describe politics as a meeting point for diverse and divergent views and cautioned Nigerians not to believe that there wouldn’t be disagreement in the process as it would be an underestimation of democratic processes.
He further added that political pundits had expected the congress of the party, being new, to be “more controversial, less successful than what was obtainable at the convention,” insisting that “democracy which is process of consensus building is a difficult thing and definitely such arguments and contentions are bound to appear”.
A former Governor of Edo state, John Oyegun emerged the new Chairman of the party at the convention and through a consensus after former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva withdrew his candidature.
His nomination was subsequently ratified by APC delegates at the first National Convention of the party, which held at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
The new party chairman promised Nigerians that their wait for a good government was over, stressing that the opposition would provide Nigerians with an alternative choice in the 2015 general elections.
“Your prayers have not been in vain. Help is on the way. The APC is here! In 2015 Nigerians will finally have the opportunity to kick out a long-ruling party.
“In 2015, the All Progressives Congress will provide Nigerians with a visionary, dedicated and people-oriented leadership that will liberate the nation from PDP’s rule of poverty and oppression. Under the stewardship of the APC, Nigeria will progress and Nigerians will thrive. This is our sacred pledge to Nigerians tonight,” he promised.
Mr Oyegun, however, stated that “the very task of salvaging Nigeria will, on its own, be hard because the rot is deep”.