By Charly Agwam – Bauchi
The Governors Forum of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has condemned the proposed Direct Primary recommended by the National Assembly in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, saying that it is prone to massive rigging.
Speaking on behalf of the governors in Bauchi on Monday, Chairman of the Forum, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State backing his claim cited a situation where President Buhari scored about 15 million votes in the 2018 APC Direct Primaries only to score 15 million votes from the entire country in the 2019 General Election.
The Forum lambasted the federal government for the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some PDP Governors and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that it said has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a billing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians but misery and bad governance.
The communique reads: “Governors elected on the platform of the PDP met in Bauchi, Bauchi State on 26 July 2021. The meeting deliberated once again on the state of the nation, reviewed the deteriorating state of our democracy, the economic and security situation in the country, the state of the PDP as the main opposition platform in Nigeria, and arrived at the following decisions
“The meeting condemned the attempt to foist on all political parties, one method of conducting primaries, that is, by DIRECT METHOD ONLY, through the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. The Governors noted that the method is prone to massive rigging, as evidenced by a situation where President Buhari scored about 15 million votes in the 2018 APC Direct Primaries only to score 15 million votes from the entire country in the 2019 General Election.
“The Governors advised that political parties, should be allowed to decide whether to use direct or indirect method of conducting primaries as part of internal democracy in political parties.
“On the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Governors identified with the need for a free, fair and credible elections in the country and called on the National Assembly to entrench Electronic transmission of results of elections in the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
“The meeting requested Independent National Electoral Commission (NEC), the only body empowered by the Constitution to conduct elections, to deploy appropriate technologies necessary to ensure that the votes of every Nigerian is counted and made to count.
“The meeting further called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), especially, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NIGCOMSAT), Telephone Companies (Telcos) and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that universal access and service of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are provided especially in rural, un-served and under-served areas of the country before the 2023 General elections.”
The governors also accused President Buhari and APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where ‘coerced’ PDP members are being paraded at intervals.
“The meeting condemned, once again, the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some PDP Governors and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a billing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians but misery and bad governance.
“The Governors condemned Mr President and APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members are being paraded at intervals,” the Forum added.
On the economy, the meeting admonished the APC Federal Government to collaborate more with State Governments to stem the unemployment scourge affecting the youths of Nigeria, through technology and increased production in all fields of endeavour.
They reiterated that Government should stop paying lip service on the Ease of Doing Business, as foreign direct investments have continued to fall partly due to obstacles placed on foreign companies wishing to invest in Nigeria, citing an example with FACEBOOK which insisted on investing in Nigeria rather than Ghana, and is being frustrated by regulatory authorities.
“The Governors reiterated, once again, the need for the NNPC and other revenue generating agencies of Government to strictly abide by the Constitution by remitting all their Revenue less cost of Production into the Federation Account as provided for by S.162 of the Constitution.
“On security of lives and properties, in addition to our earlier recommendations, it is time to bring the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists to an end, through increased use of military equipment, traditional means of conflict resolution and technology for surveillance and the development of the political will to flush them out.
“Kidnapping, banditry and terrorism ARE NOT BUSINESS VENTURES as claimed by APC but heinous STATE CRIMES, that is destroying the Nigerian economy, the educational and social future of our children and causing significant social upheavals in society, the PDP Governors admonished,” the governors stated further.
The PDP Governors enjoined all Nigerians of goodwill to take advantage of the ongoing registration of Voters by INEC to register to vote, thereby arming themselves with the necessary tools in the struggle to ‘RESCUE NIGERIA’ from the ‘APC maladministration’.
Furthermore, they encouraged the general public, especially youths and women to use the opportunity of the PDP E-REGISTRATION exercise which they said will kick off soon, to register as PDP members, while urging PDP Members to update their membership electronically.
The Governors thanked the Chief Host, Governor Bala Mohamed of Bauchi State for providing a conducive atmosphere for the meeting and for the provision of infrastructure and general welfare of citizens of Bauchi State.
In attendance are: Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto, Gov. Obezie Ihpeazu of Abia, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Gov. Douye Diri of Beyelsa, Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue, Gov. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Gov. Oluseyi Makinde of Our, Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, Gov. Darius Ishaku of Tarawa and Deputy Gov. Mahdi Mohd of Zamfara State.