All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors have kicked against the adoption of direct primary for the election of political party flag bearers by the National Assembly.
The Governors, under the auspices of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), at a meeting in Abuja on Monday night, vehemently rejected the model of the party primary.
Expressing their reservation to newsmen on Monday night after the meeting, the Chairman of the Forum, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, said the National Assembly’s decision was nothing but a usurpation of the duties of the political parties in the determination of their flag bearers.
Bagudu said the forum resolved that the mode of the emergence of party candidates should be the prerogative of the political parties and not an issue in the Electoral Act.
He argued that the resolution was against the spirit of Executive Order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, which frowns at large gatherings in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from this, the PGF Chairman further argued in the face of present economic realities, the direct primary would be too cumbersome, unwieldy and overstretch the limited resources of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is mandated to oversee primaries conducted by political parties.
He said: “There have been concerns that political parties are voluntary organisations, and our concern is that once you limit the abilities of parties to choose options that they so desire, that may even be arguably undemocratic because noting stops one party from adopting one or the other.
“Direct primary involves of necessity, supervisory role by INEC, at multiple levels, at multiple points, so you can imagine that if political parties are doing their primary, by direct primary, INEC resources will be overstretched and I think the chairman of INEC had even commented on that, so, whether the legislation has incorporated the financial implications, I don’t know yet.”
Bagudu hinted of plans by the forum to meet with the leadership of both Chambers of The National Assembly to impress it on them to review the resolution ahead of the presentation of the Electoral Act 2010 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2021 to President Muhammadu Buhari for presidential assent.
On APC National Convention, Bagudu was not forthcoming on a specific date.
He simply said: “The convention works in progress, we just finished a big milestone, the State Congresses and the appeal processes had also been conducted and I believe that soon, the party will inaugurate all the state executives, and then, some of the outstanding Congresses that are to take place in Zamfara, Oyo state, and three other states will be concluded then we are on our way to setting a date.”
Bagudu further said that after the appraisal of the State Congress conducted by the party’s Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CPC), the meeting commended the Hon. Mai Mala Buni committee.
According to the PGF boss: “The Congresses were conducted successfully and we are taking steps to resolve crisis wherever they arise.”
In attendance at the meeting were: Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Mai Mala Buni (Yobe); Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Simon Lalong (Plateau); Gboyega Oyetola (Osun); Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano); Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa).
Others were Aminu Masari (Katsina) and Abdullahi Sule(Nasarawa).
Lagos, Ondo, and Kaduna Governors were represented by their Deputies.