Osun 2018: Direct Primary Best By Muyiwa Kumuyi

Osun 2018: Direct Primary Best By Muyiwa Kumuyi
  • PublishedJuly 16, 2018
Some noises have been heard on the frivolous net raising false alarm about the adoption of the Direct Primary model for aspirants under the platform of All Progressives Congress vying ‎for governorship ticket in Osun.
It would not have mattered much if those who have been making those noises were ignorant. But they are supposedly enlightened and educated people who know better but choose to muddy the waters in their selfish ‎interests.
Although politics in Nigeria has become more about self rather than public interest, at least when it comes to the constitutional rules by which a procedure or process can be conducted, a serious politician ought to‎ know at his finger tips what the rules are.
Article 20 of the APC constitution says that the primary of the party “can be conducted either directly or indirectly.”
A direct primary is one at which all party members are eligible to vote. The indirect primary is one at which delegates form what could be considered as an electoral college to pick a candidate.
If we must be truthful to ourselves, the indirect primaries, which we have witnessed since 1999 in Nigeria, have largely created more problems than they solved in the process of electing a party flag bearer for governor or president.
We are familiar with the obnoxious fraud that have characterised the process, the demonic practices that had be-deviled it, and the monitization which has become its ugly face that combine to make it less democratic than it was intended to be.
That is because it has become so easy to influence most of the delegates to the disadvantage of democracy itself.
However, if the process is direct, the aspirants will have to appeal to tens of thousands of party members. The primary democratic advantage here is that majority of the people involved will participate ‎in the process.
Again, reason the direct approach would be most appropriate is that it is a more open and transparent process, incorruptible and not easy to be manipulated or subjected to diabolical influences.
We should understand that democracy is about rule of the majority. A position as important as that of the governor‎ of a state should be determined by popular vote. That gives the occupant of the post greater legitimacy.
Similarly within the party system, the majority of its membership should carry the day on all critical decisions the party makes.‎ But the Nigerian experience to date is that the indirect primaries have progressively been eroded by fraud.
Osun is now the first state to attempt the direct primary model which however is the prevalent practice in the United States of America from where we copied our democracy.
Indeed in Iowa state in  America, all eligible voters are required to participate in the primaries to elect the person that should hold an important office.
‎We would be holding our breathe to see how the direct primary in Osun would reshape or influence internal democracy within the parties.
The national executive of the APC would be doing a great service to the democratic process if it sanctions this critical exercise‎ to go through.
KUMUYI, a political analyst of international exposure writes from Iwo, Osun

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