President Muhammadu Buhari has stated his readiness to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill after the National Assembly makes the necessary adjustments.
He, however, said such changes must include the addition of consensus candidates, indirect primary options to the mode of selecting a candidate for an election, as against the initial direct mode as the only option to conduct primaries by political parties.
The President made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s Maupe Ogun and Seun Okinbaloye, which aired on Wednesday.
“All I said (is that) there should be options,” he said. “We must not insist that it has to be direct; it should be consensus and indirect.”
Asked if he would sign if the lawmakers effect the change in that direction, he affirmed, “Yes, I will! I will sign.
“There should be options, you can’t dictate to people and say you are doing democracy. Give them other options so they can make a choice.”
‘Why They Lost’
President Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political actors as part of the reasons for his decision.
In their reaction, lawmakers in the House of Representatives could not immediately take an action but they said they would adequately address the matter in January.
During a plenary in December, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, had explained that the time was short to address such a sensitive issue.
At the upper chamber, the Senate also resolved to consult with the House of Representatives in January when both chambers would be in session.
While the lawmakers have yet to resume from recess or deliberate on the bill, President Buhari said it was wrong to force an option on the people.
Stressing the importance of allowing people to choose from available options, he relived the events that led to his election into office and ended the 16 years rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.
“Personally, I do not support direct primary because I want people to be given a choice,” the President stated. “You can’t give them one option and think that you are being democratic.
Let them have three options – there is the consensus.
“PDP was so overconfident that they thought they would rule Nigeria till the end of time, but the opposition (parties) came together, and we overthrew them. Not as a result of direct primary, it is as a result of opposition parties coming together and fighting the PDP.
“It is because we agreed to come together. The fact that we came together gave us the success we had, and that was the mistake they made; that is why they lost.”
Shettima Appoints Hakeem, Elder Brother of LP Vice Presidential Candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has been appointed to serve as the special adviser on political matters to Vice-President Kashim Shettima.
Baba-Ahmed is an elder brother of Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election.
Baba-Ahmed’s appointment was made known on Monday, September 17, via a social media post on X, formerly Twitter.
NNPP Crisis: Court Sets Aside Kwankwaso’s Suspension From The Party
A Kano State High Court has set aside the suspension of the 2023 presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) from the party.
Justice Usman Na’aana on Tuesday granted an interim injunction restraining Boniface Aniebonam, Agbo Major, and 16 other respondents from parading themselves as national officers or leaders of the party pending the hearing and determination of the motion of notice.
The judge also set aside “the purported suspension of Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as member of the applicant (NNPP)”.
On August 29, 2023, the group led by NNPP chieftains — Aniebonam and Major — within the party suspended Kwankwaso for six months for hobnobbing with politicians outside the NNPP.
Kwankwaso, a former Kano State governor, who came fourth in this year’s presidential election.
The Aniebonam and Major group, which controls NNPP Board of Trustees said “material evidence” in public affirmed that Kwankwaso was involved in “anti-party activities in various meetings” and political discussions with President Bola Tinubu, then candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC); his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar; and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi.
The group would subsequently expel Kwankwaso over “failure to appear before the Disciplinary Committee”.
The Aniebonam and Major group also accused Kwankwaso of “financial impropriety relating to the mismanagement of public funds”.
However, the Kano court stopped Aniebonam, Major and 16 other respondents from parading themselves as party officials and fixed October 5, 2023 for the case.
Guber Poll: I’ll Hit The Ground Running As APC Chairman – Ganduje
The new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, says he will hit the ground running to ensure the victory of the ruling party in the November 11, 2023 governorship polls in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa.
Ganduje spoke on Thursday during his acceptance speech as the party’s chair after his emergence at the 12th APC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
The party’s NEC also elected former Senate spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, from Osun State as its National Secretary.
Addressing party leaders after his emergence, Ganduje thanked President Bola Tinubu and promised that internal democracy would prevail in the party during his tenure.
The ex-governor of Kano State pledged to ensure a scientific register of party members and pay utmost attention to election management and conflict resolution.
According to him, there would be level playing field for all party members during party primaries.
Ganduje promised to hit the ground running to ensure victory for the party in the three forthcoming off-season governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa.
Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi are three of the eight states with off-season governorship elections due to past litigations and court judgements. Others are Anambra, Edo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo.
In the general elections earlier this year, the APC won the presidential poll and 16 state governorship polls leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 10, the Labour Party (LP) with one state and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) also with a state.
For the November 11, 2023 governorship poll in Kogi, the APC is fielding a former Auditor General of Local Government in the state, Usman Ododo.
In Bayelsa, the party is fielding the immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, while incumbent Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, is throwing his hat into the ring for a second term in office.
Interestingly, the new APC chairman was unable to secure a win for his party in the March 18, 2023 governorship election as NNPP’s Yusuf Kabir and ally of NNPP presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, trounced Ganduje’s man, Nasir Gawuna.
Kabir scored 1,019,602 votes to defeat his closest contender, Gawuna, of the APC who polled 890,705 votes. In the February 25 poll, the APC also lost to the NNPP.
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