Sen Danjuma Laah (PDP, Kaduna South), has said that the Senate endorsed direct primaries for the election of political parties’ flag bearers because it was the best way to promote participatory democracy.
Laah, Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Character, spoke on Thursday in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, when he received a group of politicians who paid him a solidarity visit to urge him to seek a third term in 2023.
He specifically said that the direct primaries was the only way the PDP in Kaduna State could get flag bearers capable of confronting the rival APC in the 2023 polls.
He said that direct primaries were usually “transparent and open”, and wondered why anyone interested in representative democracy could oppose it.
According to him, direct primaries allow members of political parties to make their choices, adding that making it mandatory would elicit interest in political activities among Nigerians.
He said that the recommendations that INEC should engage NYSC members for the exercise was to ensure fairness and ward off possible compromise that could result from picking political party members to conduct the exercise.
Laah cautioned the PDP in Kaduna State against allowing “godfathers” to hijack the process of deciding candidates, warning that such could spell doom for the party in the secondary election in 2023.
“Experience has shown that such political godfathers usually impose unpopular candidates on the people. Such candidates are usually rejected in the general elections, so PDP should not take such risk,” he said.
He cautioned against any resort to indirect primaries or consensus arrangements, pointing out that the mode had become unpopular among party members.
Laah, who accepted the plea to seek a fresh mandate in 2023, said he was bowing to the pressure to seek the PDP ticket to run for the Senatorial seat again.
“The only viable platform available for me is the PDP. It is the most credible platform in Southern Kaduna.
“All we need to be victorious is to ensure transparent internal democracy. We should not allow anyone from another senatorial district to decide who our candidate should be,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Labari Tella, a three-term member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, who led the visiting group, had urged Laah to run again in view of his popular appeal, particularly among the grassroots.
He said the youths, women, the elderly and other groups that had always formed Laah’s support base were already campaigning for a fresh tenure, urging him to listen to their demand and not to disappoint them.
Tella described Laah as “unbeatable”, noting that he broke the jinx of second tenure in the senatorial district when he won a fresh mandate in 2019.
“Our people love and understand you. They know you understand them and identify with their concerns, especially the raging insecurity, unemployment and dearth of infrastructure. We believe that only you can help us.
“In the past six years, you have done much, so we believe that you will do even more if you get a fresh tenure. That is why everyone is craving for you,” he said.
Tella cautioned the PDP against imposing unpopular candidates that would be rejected by the electorate, “especially now that people are more enlightened and know who understands and is ready to address their concerns”.
He, however, expressed confidence that the PDP members in the senatorial district would work together because “we are members of one big family”.
NAN further reports that Laah used the occasion to announce the appointment of Tella, from Jama’a Local Government Area, as the Deputy Director-General of his 2023 campaign team.
Also appointed was Madam Asabe Gwado from Kagarko Local Government, who is to serve as the Woman Leader of the campaign team, while Kauru Local Government is to produce the Youth Leader.