‘Why National Assembly is pushing for Direct Primary’

Direct Primary: 

Oluwafemi Fadairo is Director of Administration in the Office of Senate President Ahmed Lawan. In this interview, he speaks on the amended Electoral Act, youth participation in politics and the chances of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in future polls. Excerpts:

 

Since your appointment as a Director of administration to the Senate President, what development have you brought to your community?

They are numerous and if I begin to count them from now till the evening time I would still be counting but I will mention a few. I have been able to facilitate three 500 KVA transformers to three communities in Akure. I have been able to impact lives of our artisans. Not only that, I have graded township roads, seven in Akure North and ten in Akure South local government where I hail from. Also I have been able to give out vulcanizing machines; I have been able to impact lives of our women giving them loans without interest. I have given millions of Naira to Ishinigbo women in Akure North, APC women in politics, I gave them loan instead of borrowing from micro finance banks with high interest rate, I said no if you are following me you must have something to fall back on.

Are you doing these because you have interest in elective position?

Absolutely No I have been doing these things since 2017 even when I was Special Assistant on Special Duty to Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice. I have given out free jamb forms to seven hundred and twenty student in Akure north and south, it is on record and my passion to give back to the society that produced me was what necessitated me to give back to the society it is not about someone contesting or about today, since 2017 this is 2021 I have been able to impact lives since that time.

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What is your understanding about youth involvement in politics?

My concept is that we need to liberate ourselves as youths and stop all these social vices youths normally commit themselves into. When you talk of fraud, thuggery and robbery, you see youths there. As a youth I want to tell my fellow youths that you can make impact in life without you involving yourself in crime. I stared as a youth leader of a party as a graduate but I did not allow that to define me despite the fact that my party chairman was an illiterate. I kept on moving because I know what I want for myself as a youth. Without involving ourselves in political calculations as youth, Nigeria is in big trouble. So, I volunteered myself, I made myself a case study that youths can do better, we are not saying the elders should be pushed out of the corridor of power, but they should give us chance. We should learn good lessons from the elders. Although, there are some elders, who do not have anything to offer, like what I have been able to do in the two communities where I hail from. My take is that youths should involve themselves more in politics and change the narratives politically in our dear country and in our dear state and in our respective local governments.

 

We have youth who were given opportunities to serve in political offices and have disappointed the electorate, what is your take on this set of youth?

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You cannot use one person to generalise one thousand youths, you cannot use one scenario to generalise us. Among Jesus disciples, we had one betrayed and we had one that identified Jesus Christ to the enemies. We cannot say that all youths are the same; we have some among us that will involve themselves in social vices. Similarly, not all of the elders are good; some of them are bad as devil himself. I want to make myself exemplary youth for my fellow youth to emulate. This is what gingered me to say Nigeria must grow economically and youths must be actively involved in politics.

 

Do you think APC stand a chance to win election in Nigeria especially in Ondo State considering the level of insecurity ravaging the country?

We will only get it right if we choose the right candidate for our dear party to run our election and thank God the National Assembly is doing a great job in that direction by passing the Electoral Act that stipulates that all political parties in Nigeria should adopt direct primaries as the yardstick of picking candidates for any general election. With that, my party has a chance of winning any election because these days election is about interest. It is the people that would vote. Until the right candidate is elected, we will continue to have imposition of candidates and this will lead to implosion of the political parties. It is to prevent this that the National Assembly under the leadership of Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker passed the amended electoral act that makes direct primary compulsory for political parties. The APC is a lover of direct primary. It is only the PDP members that are against it because they know how to bribe themselves into power. In our party, majority will surely have their way while the minority will have their say.

 

There is a vacant seat in Akure South and North federal constituency sequel to the demise of Hon Adedayo Omolafe, what do envisage will happen in the forthcoming bye-election?

I envisage victory for our dear party, APC and that is why people like me are actively involved in the struggle to salvage Akure North and South federal constituency, change the narratives, take Akure north and south constituency to a greater height if our party by Gods grace gives me the ticket to run under the platform of APC we will surely defeat any opposition that comes our way during the election because we have the fan base, we have the support base and we have done creditably well in our community, not only to the religious rulers, the paramount ruler of Akure kingdom, the chiefs, but to the youths, and market women. I have a glorious chance of winning the coming primary election under the APC platform by Gods grace.



Meanwhile, Elder statesman and former Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony N. Z Sani, has said that the adopion of Direct Primary election would bring sanity in Nigeria’s democracy.

 

He described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) Governors and and lawmakers’ opposition to direct primary as mode of primary elections in political parties, as lacking in moral and wisdom.

 

He said that direct primary would not only put an end to plutocracy and abuse of incumbency, but also reduce the prevalent incidence of imposition of candidates often associated with governors and money bags during indirect primary.

 

“I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill of 2021 for effect and performance,” he said.

 

He said “the National Assembly has power to amend the Electoral Bill, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that political parties be allowed to decide mode of candidates selection for elective offices.”

 

“That the Supreme Court has ruled that political parties be allowed to decide on how to select their candidates for elective offices does not preclude the National Assembly from making laws for improvement of internal democracy in our political parties which have been roundly accused for lack of internal democracy in their selection processes.”

 

“When I read about the opposition to direct primary in political parties which is contained in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill of 2021,I wonder not only the wisdom but also the morality of the opposition.”

 

“Direct primaries afford all party members the opportunity to participate in the process of selection of party candidates for elective offices. That way, party members would own the processes and the candidates. Direct primaries would also reduce the prevalent incidence of imposition of candidates often associated with governors and money bags during indirect primary by delegates who are easy to buy.”



“Direct primary would therefore put an end to plutocracy and abuse of incumbency, since it is not easy to bribe party members as it is done of delegates that include super delegates.”

 

“As regards the cost, it is to be noted that direct primaries are undertaken either at the level of polling units or at level of electoral wards. Any other level or constituency like state assembly, LGC chairman, House of Reps, Senate, governor and the presidential candidates are matter of collation of the results of the polling units or electoral wards, as the case may be.”

 

“From the foregoings, it is therefore hard to avoid the conclusion that direct primary has more advantages over indirect primaries when it comes to improvement of quality, volume and tenets of our democratic values.”

 

“That is why we urge the president to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill of 2021 for effect and performance. More so that the Bill has been passed in accordance with democratic practices which thrive on majority that has both its say and way, while minority only has its say,” he said.

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