direct and indirect primary elections

By Adekunle Adekoya

A little over a month ago, the nation was still discussing what her experience would be like in future elections if the Senate did not allow INEC transmit election results electronically. In fact, it occurred to many Nigerians that the distinguished legislators were being overly protective of the election business delivery centres, which we also know as collation centres.

Then came the unexpected gift: the Senate reversed itself and re-worked Section 52 of the Electoral Act to allow INEC transmit election result as it deemed fit. Section 52(3), passed earlier in July, now reads: “Subject to Section 63 of this bill, voting at an election and transmission of results under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by INEC.”

The reversal of the earlier position was positively reacted to by many Nigerians, and while enthusing the development, the Senators, as it would later be seen, effected another amendment to Section 87 of the Electoral Act.

The amendment effected on Section 87 of the bill 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.”

The new position was against the earlier one taken in July as contained in Section 87(1) which reads: “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold direct or indirect primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which may be monitored by the Commission.”

Expectedly, this amendment was greeted by uproar from mainly the affected stakeholders — politicians and political parties — most of whom kicked against the provision. Other Nigerians, my humble self included, took the position that it is undemocratic for law-makers to prescribe the mode by which political parties will choose candidates for various offices.

I still hold the view that it is a violation of the constitutions of the parties and an invasion of their privacy, and in the October 15 issue of this column, I urged the President not to assent to the bill with this provision.

Nevertheless, the Nigerian public must know that the Section 87(1) amendment was not drafted to improve internal democracy in the parties, desirable as that is. In fact, that is the argument that proponents of the amendment are pushing; but in journalism, it is what we call cover story.

What is happening is that the faction of the ruling elite in control of government at the federal and state levels are split, indeed fragmented, over their preferred candidate(s) for the 2023 election.

Those pushing for direct primaries seem to have perfected the strategy by which delegates elected from congresses will do their bidding, in addition to being so influential, or having a lobby so powerful that the entire National Assembly will agree on a clause that will enable them have their way.

ALSO READ: DIRECT PRIMARY: Uncertainty as APC govs, lawmakers’ battle shifts to Aso Rock

On the other hand, those who prefer indirect primary are the ones who will select the delegates that will come to the national convention to elect candidates, and their will have always prevailed in past elections. Whatever happens, a vicious battle of political sharks is raging; never mind the agbadas and kaftans at various occasions.

They smile at each other, even laugh and hug, but if you watch well, it’s all unreal; more of plastic and silicone. What every Nigerian should know is that this battle is not in their interest; it is in the interests of the political buccaneers and their inheritors. But first, get your PVC if you haven’t.

Nigeria and the climate change challenge

IT is mid-November and it is still raining, often very heavily, accompanied by tempestuous thunderstorms. Some 10, 15 years ago, or less, it was unheard of; the only rains we expected at this time of the year is the one that ushered in the dry, cold dusty harmattan. Not any more. The seasons have changed; the double rainfall maxima we used to have in July and October have shifted positions.

In short, the realities of CLIMATE CHANGE are here with us, in stark relief. Many of our farmers still don’t understand and still continue to farm seasonally the way their grandfathers did. Government needs to do a lot there to avert famine, which by all indications is threatening.

When President Muhammadu Buhari attended COP-26 in Scotland earlier this month, he declared that Nigeria is committed to Net Zero by 2060. That commitment was easy because he won’t be here in 2060; but in 2021, with the price of a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas at N8,400, it will be Gross Zero by 2030. Already, truckloads of firewood have increased their returns into the towns and cities, an indication that the populace is falling back on the forests for wood as cooking fuel. Not the way to go for Nigeria.

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