By Omeiza Ajayi
A former Presidential Candidate and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has hailed Tuesday’s decision by the Senate to approve the electronic transmission of results for the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC and the direct mode of primaries for political parties, saying it would help consolidate Nigeria’s democracy.
According to him, 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”, he added.
He said 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!”, he exclaimed.
He noted that while direct primary involves the participation of all party members in the selection of party candidates, the indirect primaries involves 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.
According to him, the case for direct primary is that it is generally less prone to manipulation by godfathers, moneybags and sitting Governors.
“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 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”, he stated.
Olawepo-Hashim however noted that for Presidential primary, there are concerns that this may infact double campaign expenses.
He said, “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”.
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