THERE may be no going back on transparent and democratic primaries for the choice of governorship candidates by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo and Ondo states, it was learnt yesterday.

At a meeting with nine APC governors, National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said democratic primary as a core element of internal democracy should not be jettisoned.

The Progressives Governors’s Forum, led by Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, unfolded plans last week to mount pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to support their push for right of first refusal to two of their colleagues, Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, for the governorship.

The polls will hold in Edo in September and Ondo in October. No fewer than 10 chieftains are competing for the ticket in Ondo APC with Akeredolu, who is seeking a second term.

In Edo, other contenders have stepped down for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is challenging Obaseki at the shadow poll. The Edo governor is also seeking re-election.

Last week, National Working Committee (NWC) announced that direct primary will be adopted for the Edo APC shadow poll.

At yesterday’s two-hour parley, the following nine governors were in attendance.

Bagudu, Obaseki, Akeredolu, Simon Lalong (Plateau), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Mai Buni(Yobe), Adegboyega Oyetola(Osun), Abubakar Bello(Niger) and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), who was the host.

According to the source, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma could not make it due to undisclosed reasons.

The governors, who appeared to be in one accord, wanted the party to be fair to their two colleagues, who they said, should not be muscled out.Specifically, the governors wanted Tinubu to prevail on the party leadership to give Obaseki the right of first refusal, the source said.

The source said Asiwaju Tinubu reiterated his belief in fairness to the incumbent governors and other interested governorship aspirants in the two states.

The source added:

“Asiwaju also said he believed in the direct primary. His argument was that the direct primary will boost the confidence of the flag bearer as he prepares for the main governorship election.”

“Asiwaju Tinubu may have intervened in this sensitive nomination matter with a benefit of hindsight because as he rightly pointed out, direct primary produced Oyetola as Osun APC candidate and Babajide Sanwo-Olu as flag bearer in Lagos State.

“Besides, I think Asiwaju Tinubu is of the opinion that where there are more than one contender, primary should be adopted to foster equity, fairness and justice.”

After the meeting, Sanwo-Olu took the governors to see the photo exhibition of his activities in the last one year.