Primaries: Govs, NASS members renew hostilities over delegates

Posted by News Express | 22 May 2022 | 430 times

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The 36 state governors and members of the National Assembly are back in the trenches for battle over the control of the ad hoc delegates who will, in the next few days, pick the presidential candidates of the parties for next year’s elections.

The governors and the lawmakers along with the president, the vice president, ministers, commissioners and other political appointees are not likely to vote during the presidential primaries as President Muhammadu Buhari has not yet signed the latest amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 by the National Assembly to allow statutory delegates participate in the proceedings.

Social media reports yesterday that he had signed the amendment turned out to be false, although he returned to Abuja yesterday from his trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It was reported yesterday that he was unlikely to append his signature to the Act.

Even if he does today, the amendment would fall short of the requirement by law that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must be in possession of any amendment seven days before primaries or election.

Apart from their battle of wits to woo the ad hoc delegates to their side, most of the governors and federal legislators from their states are sharply divided over the tickets to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In many of the states controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the governors are trying to block lawmakers they perceive not to be loyal to them from returning to the National Assembly.

On their part, the presidential aspirants on the platforms of the two political parties are busy reworking  logistic arrangements for the party primaries in line with the realization that statutory delegates may not be participating in the presidential nomination processes.

Investigation showed that the battle is more intense in states not governed by either of the parties.

A party source said: “In such states, the competition for ad hoc delegates is fiercer with party leaders as beautiful brides.

“Unless in a few states where neigbouring governors have been able to corner the ad hoc delegates, aspirants are poised for showdowns in the scramble for the votes of delegates in these ‘battleground’ states.”

While APC presidential aspirants are engaged in a tough battle to garner the majority of the delegate votes in Oyo, Taraba, Bauchi, Sokoto, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Enugu, Abia and Benue States, their PDP counterparts are concentrating on Lagos, Katsina, Imo, Borno, Ondo, Kano, Jigawa, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Yobe, Zamfara, Ogun, Osun, Plateau, Kebbi, Kwara, Kogi and Nasarawa states.

The non- signing of the amendment to the Electoral Act by Buhari means that only 2,340 ad-hoc delegates will participate in the APC presidential primaries, made up of three from each of the 774 local government areas in the country and the six area councils in Abuja while 780 similar ad hoc delegates will pick the PDP flag bearer.

The 774 local government areas will send a delegate each while the remaining six will come from the Abuja area councils.

The latest amendment to the Electoral Bill is Section 84 (8) which reads: “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting, in addition to statutory delegates already prescribed in the Constitution of the party.”

The existing provision reads: “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”

A party chieftain said yesterday that the status quo “has increased the tempo of the struggle within the two political parties, especially among some aspirants and state governors who are alleged to have handpicked majority of the ad-hoc delegates that will be deciding the fate of aspirants at the primary elections.

“What happened was that upon realising they may not be enjoying the usual luxury of having hordes of their personal aides, commissioners and other appointees on the list of delegates following the refusal of Buhari to sign the amendment, state governors in both the APC and the PDP resisted attempts by some party chieftains in their states, especially aspirants and representatives of aspirants, to have shares in the delegates elected across the states.

“In most states, the governors connived with the teams sent from the National Secretariat of their parties to corner the delegate elections, ensuring that only persons loyal to them made the lists.

“As it is, other aspirants aside from the governors are at the mercy of the state chief executives unless they can find ways of convincing majority of the delegates to vote for them.

“For aspirants who are not in the good books of their state governors, this is indeed a very tall order. This is why there is a renewal of hostilities.”

It was further gathered that some of the presidential aspirants are now appointing new coordinators among successful delegates in the states with a view to penetrating the ranks of delegates and having a good chance of winning more votes during the primaries.

“The change in strategy became necessary because many of the people coordinating for the aspirants before now were statutory delegates who may not make it to the convention unless things change before weekend.

“It is now very necessary for most aspirants in most states to appoint party members who made it to the ad hoc delegate lists as coordinators or campaigners in a new move to adjust to the present realities.

“In addition, more efforts are now concentrated on winning the votes of the ad-hoc delegates, especially by aspirants who were hoping to reap bountifully from the votes of statutory delegates before now.

“The development has really altered the permutations and heightened tension as aspirants across the country struggle with state governors for the limited votes of ad hoc delegates.”

The Nation also gathered that apart from struggling for votes that will ensure their re-election to the National Assembly in 2023, some federal legislators are at loggerheads with their governors over their support for presidential aspirants of their choice in their party.

“Some governors and National Assembly members in their states are not in agreement over who to support for the presidential ticket of their party. This has led to a struggle for the support of delegates in concerned states ahead of the primary election,” a source said.

Oba of Benin to Tinubu: We will continue to pray for you

Presidential aspirant of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday took his campaign to Edo State to woo delegates to the primaries. He was in Jigawa State on Friday.

During a courtesy call on the Oba of Benin Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II yesterday, the traditional ruler said he would continue to pray for him and Nigeria as a whole.

A former National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a former governor of Edo State; the governorship candidate of the party during the September 19, 2020 election in Edo, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu; and a former deputy governor of the state, Chief Pius Odubu, among other chieftains of APC, were also at the palace to welcome the presidential aspirant.

Tinubu and members of his team later moved from the palace to Constantial Hotel, Airport Road, Benin to meet with APC’s delegates.

Oba of Benin said: “Your (Tinubu’s) remarks are like preaching to the converted or the Pope. The Benin throne is non-partisan. We are interested in who becomes president of Nigeria. Hence, the throne prays for good leadership.

“We are praying for you (Tinubu). If you are eventually given the ticket (of APC) and you become the president of the country, do the things that will make you sit at the right hand of God. Do not forget those of us that are praying for you.”

Tinubu, earlier in his remarks, reiterated that he greatly supported President Muhammadu Buhari to become the helmsman in 2015 and for his reelection in 2019, stressing that he has the capacity and experience to govern Nigeria.

Citing his achievements as Lagos State governor, he said: “”When I took over as governor, Lagos State was a big slum. Today, I am proud to say that Lagos is a mega city state.

“When I took over, Lagos was generating N600 million monthly as Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR). Today, Lagos State is generating over N50 billion monthly.

“Nigeria needs transformational leadership. We need great reforms.”

Badaru is my twin brother, Tinubu tells Jigawa delegates

Addressing Jigawa State delegates earlier on Friday, Tinubu described Governor Muhammadu Badaru as his twin brother, saying “Badaru would hug me and he will show a victory sign and we will, thereafter, move ahead together as one.”

The Jigawa governor is also in the APC presidential race.

Tinubu said himself, Badaru and other patriots worked hard to make the APC a reality, adding: “It does not mean we cannot compete. We are like conjoined twins. It will take a specialist doctor to separate us, evil will not separate us.”

Also speaking Badaru described Tinubu as a pan Nigerian with broad based support across the country.

He said: “In 2011, we were looking for platform to contest the governorship election in Jigawa, it was Asiwaju BolaTinubu that provided me with that platform in that election

”Despite all the challenges, it was the contest that help galvanized my support to make it possible for me to win election in 2015.”

Buhari is yet to sign amendment — Presidency sources

Presidency sources yesterday denied social media reports earlier in the day that President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the  Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

Some online platforms had claimed that Buhari had signed the bill.

A Presidency source wondered where and when Buhari signed the Act when he had been out of the country for two days.

He travelled to the UAE and returned to Abuja yesterday afternoon.

The source said such an important amendment could not have been signed in secret.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who was on Buhar’s entourage to UAE, said social media reports of the purported signing of the Act were false.

Also Speaking to The Nation in a telephone conversation, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, House of Representatives, Hon Umar El-Yakub, said the viral news was untrue.

He said the President “couldn’t have signed it yesterday (Friday) because he was out of the country and he couldn’t have signed already because he’s just entering the country.

“I also cannot tell you that he will still not sign it or will not sign it. He’s the President. But if it will be signed later, we will all know”.

While in Abu Dhabi, President Buhari met the new President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to whom he conveyed his and Nigeria’s condolences on the passing of the former president and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Buhari also joined the Jummah prayers, at which prayers were said for the repose of the soul of the late President of UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Friday. (The Nation)


Source: News Express

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