Electoral Act: It’s nonsensical for NASS to come up with direct primary – Enoidem

The immediate past National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, has tackled the National Assembly for proposing the inclusion of direct primary in the electoral act which is before President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking with some journalists in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, on Sunday, Enoidem said imposing direct primary on all the political parties in Nigeria with astronomic population is most ridiculous and untenable given the fact that it would be unmanageable due to the large population.

He, however, commended the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, for the first time over its efforts in dissuading President Buhari from signing the bill citing insecurity in the country as one of the reasons.

Enoidem, who is also eyeing the red chambers for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, noted that the cost of managing the process of direct primary is too high as an aspirant would be compelled to undergo two major general elections, stressing that the cost of conducting elections can never be budgeted.

He added that such would discourage genuine and qualified aspirants who are poor from vying for elective positions, advising the National Assembly to expunge that clause from the Act before the president’s assent.

According to him, “for any person to think of returning direct primaries as a way of nominating a candidate in a country that has over 200 million people is a big mistake!

“It is just a return of electoral process to the stone age of the 15th BC. It is nothing but a clear invitation to confusion and crisis in the 21st century. It is not tenable in Nigeria with a bourgeoning population! If you look back in 2018, this same APC preaching direct primaries, there was no one person who won the election that was given a ticket by the party, that is what they want to subject Nigeria to now.

“Another thing is that the cost of managing that process is too high, it means subjecting a candidate to two general elections. That is the election that produces him as the candidate of the party and another for a general election. For instance, in Akwa Ibom that has up to 368 wards, you have to conduct elections in all the wards, you are just killing the process and the person who genuinely wants to contest but does not have money. In fact, it is a way of killing democracy.

“I must give it to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation. This is the first time I’m commending that office. The reason he gave why the president should not sign the electoral act because of the direct primaries was due to insecurity in the country.

“For me, it is almost nonsensical for the National Assembly to come up with such a proposal in the 21st century. It was not supported by fact, not supported by history not even by times.”

The PDP former legal adviser disclosed that the party has put structures together to take back power in 2023, saying it’s high time the government of a bad, unstable economy, filled with insecurity and hardship, be voted out

Speaking on the speculations that the Maintain Peace Movement, MPM, a brainchild of Governor Udom Emmanuel to sustain peace in the state was a vehicle for the governor’s succession plan, Enoidem, who is the National Coordinator of the organ said, “so what about it? What is wrong if the governor uses the organ to midwife his succession plan?

MPM cuts across party lines let people not colour the governor’s good intentions with politics, nobody can deny the fact that in the last six and half years, Akwa Ibom people have enjoyed unprecedented peace and security, compared to other states in the country, when we see such legacy, it is pertinent that people promote it.

“We want the APC to also check the track record of any person they are bringing as a candidate, he must not be a violent person and should be properly scrutinized. The next governor should leverage on the peace that is already established in the state,” he said.

He also dispelled the insinuation that PDP is MPM, saying, “No, the chairman and other executives are intact that is why we structured the leadership of MPM in such a way that no executive of the party (PDP) is there. PDP is meant to be neutral, MPM is not. We are biased when it comes to the nomination of the governor’s successor, we stand with the governor in his succession plan and we are unapologetic about it.”

On if the PDP would zone the presidential ticket to the south-south, the immediate past legal adviser said the decision of the party supersedes as he would work assiduously with whatever decision the party takes.

“For me as Emmanuel Enoidem, I do not see anything wrong in that agitation, but “I stand with whatever decision the party takes and I’ll work for it assiduously but the void Buhari created in the north is palpable that is why insecurity is increasing in a geometric proportion, it is only because we are in a country where data is missing, where we don’t believe in the truth. APC government has failed abysmally especially in security, safety and the management of the economy,” he said.