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The chairman of the southeast governors’ forum and governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi on Thursday said Direct Primaries will truncate democracy in Nigeria.
Umahi said this while addressing stakeholders and delegation of the National Examinations Council, NECO, during a courtesy visit.
Umahi applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to assent to the electoral amendment bill, adding that he is a hero for refusing to assent the bill.
He said “Let me congratulate Mr President for refusing to sign that electoral bill. You see, when we are making laws, we have to look at all the factors. This is a country, that when you are defeated in any primary, you refuse to accept defeat.
“Now, imagine the number of our local government, 774. Imagine the number of wards, you now go to conduct primaries in all these wards, maybe for the president and after that, the senate and the rest of the positions. Even if you are doing all of them in one day, expect petitions by the number of political parties, times the number of wards.
“So, it will just truncate our democracy there is no doubt about that. Nobody has considered the amount of confusion that will arise out of that because everybody that contests election will like to go to court.
“And, if I am contesting a particular office, I have to go to court if I am not happy over the election in the number of wards in my constituency. So when will the litigation end? It is another ploy to derail democracy.
“So, I want the national assembly to look into this litigation aspect. When the cost of these direct primaries is taken into consideration, it is going to be too much because, for every ward that the court rules out, there must be a repeat of the exercise.
“So, I think that we have not gotten to that level of maturity, level of having the spirit of sportsmanship, level of accepting defeat. When people know that they have been defeated, they want to see, if they can technically or fraudulently manipulate the system within the judiciary.
“So, I think that the issue of political primaries should be left to the political parties. This is not about APC or PDP, everybody is looking at the implication. So, let us take another look at it.
“Some people say, governors have hijacked the primaries, is it not the governors that are at home every time, do they not have representation in every unit? So, they are at home with the people, if you are not at home with the people, how will the people know you?.
“Some of you want to be governors, very soon, we shall not be governors anymore, but, we are looking at what will bring stability to our democracy and sustain it. So, the national assembly should take a deeper look at the application, so that when it will start happening, they will say, we foresaw this and we advised against it” he stated.
Earlier in a remark, the registrar/ chief executive of NECO, Prof. Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi commended Umahi for the support and assistance to the council which according to him, has made exams easier in Ebonyi State.
“It is evident, that in the whole of the southeast, it was only in Ebonyi State that our examination, were not disrupted during the nationwide End Sar protest in 2020.
“Ebonyi State presented the highest number of candidates for the year’s BECE, not just in the southeast, but in the whole country, with 22,011 candidates” he stated.