Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has slammed the National Assembly for approving the direct primary option of choosing candidates for political parties.
Tracknews Online reports that the National Assembly on Tuesday passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which among other things included the approval for the electronic transmission of results and provided for direct primaries for nomination of candidates for elections by political parties.
Following the development, different stakeholders such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have kicked against the approval by federal lawmakers.
During an appearance on Channels Television on Wednesday, Governor Bello asked NASS members to stop making laws based on sentiments without considering the economic situation of the country.
The governor said the adoption of the direct primary will lead to an increase in the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and in the conduct of carrying out elections in the country.
He said: “On the issue of taking the party back to the people, the question is who took the party away from the people in the first place? Is it the legislature or the executive? I think the party remains with the people.
“We, as governors, I don’t think anybody is afraid of direct primary. No governor, I can tell you — not APC, not PDP, not APGA; at least these are the parties that we have today.
“Let me tell you that I will always caution that whenever we are making laws or taking decisions, we should not base it on the impulse of the moment.
“We are not saying anybody is afraid of direct primary. The drafters of the party constitution, especially as it affects APC, envisaged that there could be a situation where one particular mode of primary may not be feasible, then you adopt another.
“The drafters envisaged that there are issues like that where there will be options. If you now come up with legislation and you say it must be one, what happens if a situation arises and congresses cannot be held or primary can’t be held? And you are saying INEC must observe. What happens if such can’t happen? It means there is no primary.
“Let there be options, because if we box ourselves into a corner because of certain perceptions and try to set the people against the party or against the government, we may be consumed at the end of the day.”
The Kogi governor stated that he is not afraid of the direct primary mode, adding that his popularity will make a way for him during an election.
He added: “I, governor Yahaya Bello, am not afraid of direct primary. In fact, if anything I will even prefer it. I’m confident of my popularity and whoever is popular should go and test popularity at the polls.
“Whether APC governor, PDP governor, any governor at all that is afraid of direct primary means he is not popular and I can assure you no governor is not popular in his state.
“And in any case, I’m telling you of the implication — let the general public not be set against the governors or against the government. We, governors, are all ready for direct primaries.”
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