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Governors and their fears for direct primaries

Though the two major parties in Nigeria, the ruling APC and the opposition PDP, have been having quite a rough time in their internal affairs, the PDP appeared to have settled or rather reduced its own conflict to a certain extent by successfully holding its convention 3 weeks ago in Abuja. It was able to fill leadership positions without rancor after experiencing a relief from the court judgment on the appeal filed against the party by its erstwhile chairman Uche Secondus.

All eyes and ears have been on the APC to see how it wades through its own troubled waters, like the issue of perceived stagnancy of its caretaker committee headed by Mala Mai Buni, governor of Yobe state.

It is in view of this that governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held a closed door meeting on Sunday night in Abuja.

Meeting under the aegis of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) were the host governor and chairman of the group, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi, the governors from Cross River, Kwara, Imo, Borno, Ebonyi, Lagos and others as well. In attendance were up to 20 governors of the APC.

They were expected to discuss the party’s forthcoming National Convention, its zoning arrangement, direct primary and others issues.

It is an open secret that governors around Nigeria have not been in total support of the idea of direct primaries; it had in a previous meeting said that direct primaries by political parties would overstretch the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The National Assembly adopted Section 87 of the amended electoral bill currently awaiting the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari. That section stipulates mandatory direct primaries for all political parties. However, at PGF last meeting, the Chair, Bagudu said that INEC’s decision to make it mandatory for political parties to elect their candidates for elective positions through direct primaries was undemocratic. According to him, it will limit the parties’ ability to choose their desired options.

Direct primaries involve the participation of all party members in the selection of candidates, while indirect primaries involves the use of delegates who are mostly leaders and executives at the ward, local government and state levels to elect the party’s candidates at congress or convention.

Arising from the meeting in the early hours of today, the governors also dismissed concerns of a possible implosion within the party in view of the crisis in many of its State chapters, a development threatening the smooth operations of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC.

“This is a party which was not only able to mobilize into its fold three outstanding governors into the party, the Deputy Governor of Anambra state, members of the National Assembly, distinguished Nigerians from all walks of life and this is the party where the party leadership is humble to say that all Nigerians should join us so that we unite and serve Nigerians.

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