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2023: Why Direct primary can be key to free and fair elections

2023: Why Direct primary can be key to free and fair elections

The recently concluded party congress of two major political parties of APC and PDP has shown that party politics is skewed to promote corruption. The two parties adopted indirect mode for their congress. While PDP claimed the activities to be a success as they wanted to make us believe, same can not be said of APC that has produced 92 state chairmen for 36 states. The issues here is not about the success of the exercises, but the intrigues that played along during the exercise that indicates a thing; it was corruption ridden which makes power to reside with few that has financial muscle.

It has shown how expensive for candidates to emerge through to the mode, it is either the candidate has enough financial muscle or have someone or group that can bankroll the ambition of such person. There is no argument or denial about the democratic ideals of indirect primary as practised in an advanced democracies all over the world; but what is undemocratic about indirect primaries here is the vague, questionable and dubious manner some delegates are chosen. It gives nomination of delegates at the mercy of sitting executives which can nominate whoever they deem fit, which automatically tilts the numbers that overly give advantage to the governors or president’s political interest.

Now, let come to term about what indirect and direct primary is, and what it is not. Indirect primaries is the use of delegates who are usually leaders and members of the executives at the ward, local and state levels, to elect the party’s candidates at a convention, while direct primaries involves the direct participation of all party members across all levels of the party in selection of the party candidates.

We have tried indirect mode of primaries in this country so many times with its outcome being the same. It brings corruptions through monetary inducement of delegates at the convention ground. Unfortunately, the aspirants after their emergence as the party flagbearer, after they have induced the delegates, will see it as an investment. The candidate will be corrupt if he or she eventually returns elected. 

And it will be wrong for us to keep trying the same thing all the time, doing so will amount to insanity. It is only right for us to try something new.

The best time for us to try something new is the coming 2023 political parties primaries, given that the presidency assented to the proposed amendments of the electoral bills currently in the National Assembly. Direct primaries if approved can bring fresh air into the political polity, in such way that it will reduce the influence of those state governor. Though like all social variables, it can be subject to manipulation but it will likely reduce such financial inducement that usually occurs at convention ground.

Furthermore, unlike the norms in the indirect primaries set up where delegates are usually camped at a designated location that makes the inducement possible. In the direct primaries, the voting members are scattered across nook and crannies of the party where their presence can be felt. This literally makes financial inducement to be less likely if not totally impossible. For example, in a state like Ogun that has 236 wards, if direct primaries are adopted, all those 236 wards have people, when someone set to buy votes, it will be difficult to buy votes in 236 locations at same time. There is need for such aspirant to be popular to be voted for. 

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Another important area where direct primaries can be key in the coming elections in 2023, is that there will be need for popular contestants to go to small parties to participate, they can rather try their luck in the big parties. This can be possible because they have the reach to the members of the parties instead of delegates that are controlled by party bigwigs.

Direct primary is the easiest form of democracy where anyone in the party can participate and subscribe to.

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