By Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim
The controversy over electronic transmission of results was laid to rest when the Senate voted in its support on Tuesday.
The Senate actually did what Nigerians wanted, and that is what Parliaments are meant to do. With this, the APC did what the opposition PDP refused to do in 16 years of its control of power in Nigeria.
The APC controlled National Assembly did more as it legislated Direct Primaries and transferred power to the people. Surprisingly, it is the opposition PDP that is crying. What a “democratic party” that is afraid of the people!
The journey started in July when the Speaker of the House, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila moved the amendment to allow direct primaries, which was adopted by the House during the clause by clause consideration.
On Tuesday, 12th October 2021, the Senate reviewed its earlier decision on the controversial section 52 (3), and also adopted the position of the House on Section 87 on mandatory direct primaries for all parties. 87(1) of the bill now reads, “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission.
While direct primaries involve the participation of all party members in the selection of party candidates, the indirect primaries involve the use of delegates who are usually leaders and members of the executives at the Ward, Local Government, and State levels, to elect the party’s candidate(s) at a congress or convention.
The case for the direct primary is that it is generally less prone to manipulation by godfathers, moneybags and sitting Governors (especially).
Some have seen this Direct Primary as a direct revolt against the Governors who they claimed have transformed themselves into emperors in their states.
For instance, in 2014, if the majority of party leaders across the country had not decided on President Muhammadu Buhari as APC candidate, the man who bears dollars would have crashed his victory.
Not a few also believe that with Direct Primary, no politician will stay far away from his or her constituency again. That is for local elections.
For the Presidential primary, there are concerns that this may, in fact, double campaign expense.
The Presidential primary may become a “general election before the general election”, that only the “king of boys” can afford.
The “people” may just be spectators in the process, giving the prevailing culture of vote-buying.
Olawepo-Hashim, a former presidential candidate, is an APC Chieftain.