Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki says the adoption of direct primaries by the national leadership of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for this year’s governorship election in the state may trigger massive coronavirus infections on members of the party.
The governor stated this while speaking a national newspaper, Daily Independent, through Crusoe Osagie, his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy.
He said as a popular candidate, he was not afraid of any mode of primary and would defeat any aspirant who slugged it out with him for the APC ticket, adding however that as the Chief Security Officer of the state, he was opposed to the idea of direct primary now because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
He said gathering together over 500,000 party members in the name of primary may trigger the number of COVID-19 cases already in the state, a situation he said would put more lives at risk.
“The governor of Edo State and leader of the APC in the state, Governor Godwin Obaseki, is an extremely popular candidate who will defeat any aspirant that contests the party’s ticket in whatever means of primary that is used.
“The question we should ask is, ‘Is direct primary the better alternative now in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic?
“If you recall, some people are even pushing for the postponement of the election but INEC said it had to go ahead because it was constitutionally circumscribed.
“That is why even INEC is releasing a policy with which elections within this period are going to be conducted.
“Nobody will do anything now and will not consider the fact that gathering a large number of people together at a point in the name of primary.
“Direct primary involves gathering together about 400,000 to 500,000 party members in different units to vote.
“In this period of this pandemic, that is enough to trigger the pandemic crisis in the state.
“According to the NCDC, as at May 23, 2020, 28 new cases had been discovered in Edo State.
“If we gather this large number of people together, naturally we are going to shoot up the number and there will be crisis.
“In our opinion, anybody who loves this country and the citizens should be looking for ways to reduce the spread of this virus.
“Governor Obaseki, as a responsible citizen and Chief Security Officer of Edo State, will not take any action that will put the health and safety of the good people of the state at risk.
“That is why we are opposed to the idea of direct primary at this period,” he stated.