New Telegraph

Umahi: Direct primaries can truncate democracy in Nigeria

Chairman, South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi, Thursday warned that direct primaries can derail or truncate democracy in the country if national assembly insist on going ahead with it

He therefore urged the National Assembly to rethink the contentious direct primaries stipulation it inserted into the electoral act amendment bill.

Umahi stated this when he received the Registrar of National Examinations Council (NECO), Professor Dantani Wushishi in Abakaliki, the state capital.

He commended the President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to sign the bill because of the said stipulation.

The governor said direct primaries will lead to so much confusion which will derail or possibly truncate democracy in the country.

He said the amount of litigation 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.

He said: “Let me congratulate 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 where 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 about 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 these direct primaries is taken into consideration, it is going to be too much because for every ward that the court rules out, there 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 every time, 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?”

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

“It is evident that in the whole of the southeast, it was only in Ebonyi state that our examinations were not disrupted during the nationwide #EndSARS protest in 2020.

“Also, as a result of your tremendous effort and involvement, Ebonyi state presented the highest number of candidates for this year’s BECE not just in the southeast but in the whole country, with 22,011 candidates,” he said.

The Registrar said the Council plans to relocate the NECO zonal office from Enugu to Abakaliki after it completes its gigantic office building project in the city.

While noting that the project is 90 percent completed, the Registrar sought the governor’s assistance to enable NECO complete the project.

Read Previous

JUST IN: Gunmen kill Katsina commissioner

Read Next

Brain Drain: NMA warns of looming crisis in Nigerian health sector

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *