The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday told the candidates in this weekend’s governorship primary in Bayelss State to conduct themselves peacefully.
This is coming as some party members were said to be plotting the disqualification of former Governor Timipre Sylva.
The party leaders argued that giving the former governor the APC ticket might cause its defeat.
At a meeting with the aspirants at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, the party’s leadership reportedly outlined its guidelines to 19 of the 20 aspirants present.
Sylva was absent.
Also present were APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Olusegun Oni and National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, among other national executives.
Some of the aspirants, who addressed reporters after the meeting, dismissed the rumour that the party was fielding a consensus candidate.
The only female aspirant Mrs Tonye Areapa said she had not stepped down for anybody.
She said: “the party has no consensus candidate for the Bayelsa primary. We were assured of a level-playing field. We are all going to seek delegates’ votes at the primary. We were charged on ways to conduct ourselves during the primary: we were told not to do anything that will tarnish the image of the party.”
Another aspirant, Mr Ebitei Francis, who was Commissioner for Works under Sylva, expressed optimism in the party’s ability to conduct a free and fair primary.
He said: “One thing the party does well is free and fair primary. There was no petition from the Kogi State primary and we believe that will play out in the Bayelsa State primary. The issue of a consensus candidate is not something the party will practice.”
He said former President Goodluck Jonathan’s endorsement of Governor Seriake Dickson was not a threat as the APC would win in the state.
He said: “We in APC do not see the former President. That word is former. If you are a former (office holder), your activities, powers are also former. Do they still have the power they wielded before?”