2023: Umahi Opposes Direct Primaries

Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, on Thursday, opposed the use of direct primaries by political parties to electe their candidates for elections in Nigeria.
Umahi urged the National Assembly to rethink the contentious direct primaries stipulation it inserted into the electoral act amendment bill.

The governor warned that the situation could derail or even truncate the democratic process in the country and commended President Muhammad Buhari, for refusing to asset to the bill because of the said stipulation.

Umahi spoke when he received the Registrar of National Examinations Council (NECO) Professor Dantani Wushishi in his office, Ochoudo Centenary city, Abakaliki.
He said direct primaries would lead to so much confusion which might derail or possibly truncate democracy in the country.

According to him, the amount of litigations that will arise from such direct primaries will be so much that it will make the electoral process too costly and too cumbersome to prosecute.

“Let me congratulation Mr President for refusing to sign that electoral bill. You see, when we are making laws we have to look at all the factors.

“This is a country that when you are defeated in any primary you refuse to accept defeat. Now, imagine the number of our local government, 774. Imagine the number of wards, you now go to conduct primaries in all these wards, maybe for the president and after that the senate and the rest of the positions.

“Even if you are doing all of them in one day expect petitions by the number of political parties times the number of wards.

“So it will just truncate our democracy there is no doubt about that. Nobody has considered the amount of confusion that will arise out of that because everybody that contests election will like to go to court.

“And if I am contesting a particular office, I have to go to court if I am not happy over the election in the number of wards in my constituency. So when will the litigation end? It is another ploy to derail democracy.

“So, I want the national assembly to look into this litigation aspect. When the cost of this direct primaries is taken into consideration, it is going to be too much because for every ward that the court rules out, their must be a repeat of the exercise.

“So, I think that we have not gotten to that level of maturity, level of having the spirit of sportsmanship, level of accepting defeat. When people know that they have been defeated, they want to see if they can technically or fraudulently manipulate the system within the judiciary.

“So I think that the issue of political primaries should be left to the political parties. This is not about APC or PDP, everybody is looking at the implication. So let us take another look at it.

“Some people say governors have hijacked the primaries, is it not the governors that are at home everytime, do they not have representation in every unit? So they are at home with the people, if you are not at home with the people how will the people know you?.

“Some of you want to be governors, very soon we shall not be governors any more but we are looking at what will bring stability to our democracy and sustain it. So the national assembly should take a deeper look at the application so that when it will start happening they will say we foresaw this and we advised against it”, he said.

Earlier, Professor Wushishi said he was in the state to thank the governor for his immense support to the council which he said showed the governor’s commitment to educational upliftment of the State.

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