NG Election

Explainer: How direct primary could salvage Nigeria’s electoral system

by Iniobong Iwok

September 24, 2018 | 12:03 pm
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Gboyega Oyetola, APC's Frontman for the recently "concluded" Osun State Governorship's Election, became his Party's Frontman through a controversial direct primary selection

Recently the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) adopted direct primary method to elect its Presidential candidate, while also saying that gubernatorial and candidates for other positions in some State chapters across the country should also be elected through the same method but subject to the approval of the party leaders.


The direct method according to the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomole, is the best way of conducting the primaries and eliminating disagreement, which have traced recent primaries elections of the party ,while also instituting democracy in the APC.


The party adopted the direct primary to conduct the Osun gubernatorial election primary in September which was won by Gboyega Oyetola under controversial circumstances.

Since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999, political parties in Nigeria elect their candidates through the indirect method.

The indirect primary allows party delegates, party leaders and political appointees of the party to choose the party candidates.

However, the methods have become increasingly controversial in recent time and have also led to rancour among party members and leaders, while also fueling money politics in the country.


Analysts have argued that the method also encourage bribery and other forms of inducement of delegates by aspirants, which on many occasions have ended in enthroning wrong candidates, who may have spent more than any other aspirant on delegates.


What is direct primary?

In direct primary, card-carrying party members will participate in the process of nominating the flag-bearer of the party. It is believed to be the most acceptable and democratic way of conducting primary election which would eliminate rancour among party members and aspirants.


However, over the years, in many political parties in Nigeria, a consensus arrangement, which is a situation where the aspirants decide among themselves to allow one of them to become the candidate without any vote seem to be most pronounced.

However, several APC state chapters except for a few such as; Kano, Lagos, Niger, Bayelsa have ruled out adopting the direct method to conduct gubernatorial election primary, while others have ruled out adopting the method in their states to conduct any categories of elections primaries.


The method has also been received with skepticism  among APC faithful, some party chieftains have equally kicked-against the method, arguing that if implemented, it would denied them the services of its experience members.


However, analysts, have predicted that the direct method if implemented, could help check the growing influence of money and god-fatherism in the nation’s electoral system, stressing that it could also confer power and a voice to party members rather than a few delegates.


Amidst the chaos which have characterized the political party primaries in recent times, political observers have said that the success of the direct method in the APC could perhaps serve as a pointer for other political parties in Nigeria.

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by Iniobong Iwok

September 24, 2018 | 12:03 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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