A Political Scientist, Dr. Gbade Ojo, has cautioned the National Assembly against imposition of direct mode of primary on political parties in choosing their candidates.
Ojo, also a Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Ilorin, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ibadan.
According to him, it is undemocratic for the National Assembly (NASS) to impose direct mode of primary on any political party.
“Such an imposition will amount to an infringement of their fundamental human rights,” he said.
Ojo, a one time Chief of Staff to the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi, said that political parties should be free to adopt any of the consensus, direct and indirect modes of primary.
“It should absolutely be an internal affairs of political parties to decide which mode of primary they wish to adopt in selecting their candidates.
“For instance, if the All Progressives Congress (APC) is in love with direct primary, there is no reason why it should impose it on all other parties.
”Direct primary is like conducting general elections twice. Political parties don’t have the mechanism to supervise direct primaries,” Ojo said.
According to him, the only beauty that comes with direct mode of selecting candidates is that it will reduce the influence of money in politics.
“That is, it will be difficult to bribe millions of voters in a single space.
“I am of the opinion that political parties should be free to pick and decide on any mode they desire, rather than imposing direct primary on them.
“I’m quite sure that Mr. President will not allow himself to be misled into assenting to that bill.
“However, if the president assents to it, political parties can challenge the Bill in court,” he said.
In his contrary views, Mr. Ojo Adebayo, a former Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, said that direct mode would see the return of power to the majority.
Adebayo said that direct mode of primary would restore sanity in the process of choosing political parties’ candidates, instead of the moneybags withholding parties’ power for personal gains.
“The issue of collegiate system allows for manipulation and corruption.
“I mean that it is subject to the manipulation of the few powerful individuals like governors.
“But with this, it means that sovereignty has been returned to the people,” Adebayo said.
One of the new clauses contained in the 2021 amended Electoral Act is that all political parties must adopt direct primary in the emergence of their candidates.