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Direct primaries good, needs adequate planning

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The direct primaries of All Progressives Congress (APC) has been described as good initiative, but could be hampered by the lack of updated membership register and improper planning.

Sen. Ali Ndume told  Newsmen that the situation was a challenge to the adoption of direct primaries being advocated by leaders of the party to elect its candidates for 2019 general elections.

The Senator, who represents Borno South in the Senate, said the direct primaries was the best alternative in a democracy because it deepened the process and reflected the views of party members, adequate preparations must be put in place before it could be adopted.

Ndume said such preparation was critical to ensure the adoption of direct primaries which guaranteed that every party member had opportunity to participate in deciding who would fly the party`s flag at various levels.

“There are challenges in some states; first of all, we were not adequately prepared for the direct primaries nationwide.

“There must be some recognition precedence before you implement the direct primaries and that is where the greatest challenge of APC is.

“We embarked on members’ registration, but we have not really done that to a level where it can be effectively used for primaries.

“I give you an example of my state, or myself personally; right now, I have a membership slip, but I do not have a membership card, “ the Senator said.

He noted that with just a membership slip, the party`s membership data base could be exposed to the challenges of security and manipulation, especially when a member tried to log in on the web.

Speaking further on the adoption of indirect primaries, the Senator said states that might be comfortable with the direct primaries because of challenges could get the party`s approval on the mode of primaries they wanted to adopt.

“ Like in my state, we don’t have updated membership card and you know we have security challenges in the North East, where some local governments are still not very safe.

“We have instances of suicide bombings here and there, even though we thank God that we are running to three months or more now, without incidence of suicide bombing in Borno.

“But we have to take all the necessary precautions, after all, the people that will be involved in the indirect election were elected by party members,” he said.

Ndume noted that Kano, Kaduna, Niger and some other states had already adopted the indirect primaries to elect the party`s candidates at all levels.

The Senator while commenting on the party`s membership registration, said the South West had advantage because the party`s leaders in the region, especially Bola Tinubu, founded the mobilisation and registration of

Mr Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman on Sept. 12, said the party now had a new membership data base.

He disclosed this to President Muhammadu Buhari at the party`s national secretariat when he came to submit his Presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to re-contest the presidency in 2019.

Oshiomhole who said the APC currently had 15.6 million registered members across the country, added that the party under his leadership, took advantage of modern technology to come up with a new membership data base.

“Today to talk about the size of our party, the largest party in the world and in Africa, we need to have evidence that can be verified by a third party or by members.

“We have taken advantage of technology to produce what I believe is the best or the first in Nigeria, “ he said.

The APC national chairman added that the party membership data base was designed to ensure that the membership status of anyone could easily be verified at the touch of a bottom.

Oshiomhole maintained that with the development, the APC had credible and verifiable persons to conduct direct primaries on the basis of its membership register.

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