By Shola Oyeyipo
Former Ogun State governor and Chairman, Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Olusegun Osoba, has called on members of the National Assembly to quickly reconvene to ratify the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and conclude work on the amendments to the electoral Act.
The APC chieftain also enjoined party members not to consider the introduction of direct primary in the selection of party candidates as an action targeted at anybody, it is a development that will guarantee victory for the party in elections.
Osoba who made these assertions during an interview with THISDAY in Lagos at the weekend, said the National Assembly leadership is left with no other choice than to reconvene in the interest of the country.
Describing the ongoing standoff between the executive and the leadership of the Senate as danger sign that is capable of rubbing off on the 2019 electoral process, Osoba said: “You can see that that there is danger ahead, but it is a danger we can easily overcome unless we don’t want to be sincere.”
According to him, “the National Assembly has no choice and I will counsel them that they should make haste and pass the budget for INEC. Same thing, if they do their duty, the executive will perhaps sign the Electoral Act into law after the amendment/objection by the presidency.
“If we are sincere, we should be able to implement anything; pass the budget, implement part of the electoral act for the next electoral system.”
On the debate on the introduction of direct primary, Osoba said the idea behind the concept is to improve the electoral fortunes of the party by giving members the opportunity to determine who leads them which he says will boost their morals to participate in the voting process.
“The first question you should ask is whether direct primary is part of the APC constitution? I am the chairman of the constitution drafting committee. Our first choice is direct primary. The second, we said direct or indirect. We included the indirect because where there is consensus, delegates are still to ratify that consensus.
“I don’t know who is afraid of direct primary and saying it is targeted at a particular people. I don’t know that particular person that it is targeted at. Tell me. If for example, I claim to be a leader, what is wrong in giving the party members the opportunity to have a say in who becomes their representative in State House of Assembly or councillor? These are levels that are closest to the people.
“So, direct primary means that party members who have PVCs in a polling unit can take part in choosing who leads them. If we are doing presidential system then direct primary is the most suitable. I expect any governor to like it because the governor is the leader and he has the wherewithal to dispense favour. If the governor has picked reliable people from the villages working with him, at direct primary they will be his foot soldiers.
“It is when a leader has failed that he would be afraid of direct primary. Direct primary; the good thing about it, which is important for us in APC is that we must empower the party members to go all out on election day with enthusiasm. And they will do so if they have a say in whoever emerges.”