September 4, 2018

2019: Jettison indirect primaries, Sen. Sani begs APC leadership

Shehu Sani, EFCC

Shehu Sani

By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – Ahead of the forthcoming congresses and Presidential primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Senator representing Kaduna Central in the Senate, Comrade Shehu Sani has expressed support for the adoption of direct primaries by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee NWC of the party.

Indirect Primaries fuel Corruption, Mediocrity, Godfatherism, Shehu Sani, others tells El-Rufai

Speaking Tuesday in Abuja shortly after submitting a petition to the NWC on the mode of voting for the primaries, Sani who was accompanied by his predecessor, Sen. Mohammed Sani Saleh and 15 federal constituency, senatorial and governorship aspirants, said indirect primaries which many of the governors want, only fuels corruption, mediocrity and godfatherism.

Other signatories to the petition are Alhaji Aliyu Silver, Hon. Shamsuddeen Shehu Giwa, Rufai Chachangi, Mohammed Musa Soba and Jalal Falal. Others are Usman Ibrahim, Hassan Samdi, Umar Isa, Umar Sa’ad Aminchi, Yusuf Ali, CP Sani Magaji, Rufai Surajo and Sani Abdul.

According to them, the most of the executives of the party in the state were handpicked by aides of Gov. Nasir El-Rufai.

In the petition submitted to the NWC, Sani and the aspirants recalled that “over the past three or so years, there has been a significant level of disquiet in the camp of the APC. A disturbing level of apathy and anomie now pervades the party as a result of the profound sense of marginalization and, in some cases, outright exclusion which is experienced by many critical stakeholders as well as members of the party”.

They said, “the Delegate System, otherwise called Indirect Primaries will rely on the whims and caprices of the few that now control the party after emerging from ward, local government and state congresses that have been widely rejected by party members as a sham. Hundreds of party members who bought forms with a view to vying for various wards, local governments and state party executive positions were deliberately excluded from the process and in some instances even intentionally blocked from submitting their forms. Nor were they even consulted ahead of the so-called processes of affirmation of officials of the party.
“Instead, the names of all party executives were single handedly written by the Governor. That alienated many of our party members and caused mass exodus from the party. These selected party executives under the tyrannical hold of the Governor have been complying only with his (the Governor’s) biddings, limiting access, communication and association to only those candidates in the favoured books of the Governor. A great many of members of the party executives have been appointed to serve as campaign coordinators of the Governor’s preferred candidates at various levels while those deemed to be sympathetic to the cause of the people other than the Governor have been shown the way out.

“Majority of the members of our party, armed with facts that are stark and incontrovertible, are now in court seeking judgements that would, from all indications, set aside these sham congresses. And since it is a trite legal dictum that you cannot build something on an illegality, it means that for Kaduna State, at least, the indirect primaries system relying as it would, on these bogus congresses, is Dead on Arrival (DoA).

‘Insecurity, not an excuse to jettison Direct Primaries’

“It would have come to your notice, Your Excellency that the proponents of Indirect Primaries in the state, particularly the Governor and his cohorts, rely on the excuse that the current security situation in the state makes direct primaries impracticable and risky. This argument is not nearly as clever as it should be considering that it outrightly contradicts claims by the same Governor that Kaduna State has been made secure. Besides, the argument flies in the face of logic because if security challenges are sufficient grounds not to adopt and conduct Direct Primaries, then it follows that the 2019 general elections ought not to hold at all. If anything, therefore we use this opportunity to forewarn of the possibility that violence may be fomented by the governor and his hatchet men to undermine the conduct of free, fair credible direct primaries in the state.

“Your Excellency, we the undersigned are particularly in opposition to Indirect Primaries because of the weakening effects of its corruptive tendencies. The entire process begins and ends with vote buying. And, as it is always the case where the will of the general electorate is subverted, the best candidates for the tasks at hand never get recruited. it is our humble opinion that the forthcoming 2019 general election is too crucial for the APC, and Kaduna State too strategic, for us to confront the array of formidable candidates of the opposition with anything less than our very best candidates.

“Indirect Primaries stand as direct antithesis to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to fight corruption at all levels. Our party having touted the change mantra must shine the light into those dark places in our electoral system where the corruptive influence of ill-gotten wealth is used to subvert the will of the electorate and perpetrate the vicious circle of corruption, bad governance and weak and dysfunctional institutions and processes.

“In all, Your Excellency, we see your decision to adopt Direct Primaries in Kaduna State as the panacea to the current deep fault lines and obstacles to building a strong virile, people-rooted APC. Direct Primaries is the most assured means at throwing up the most popular candidates that will deliver Kaduna State for the APC come 2019”.