Direct primaries will give Nigerians more power to be actively involved in politics_ DG PGF

The director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman has reacted to the new electoral amendment bill passed by the Nigerian Senate.

In a statement he personally signed, Mr. Lukman said there is increasing public confidence even among politicians that INEC should be given more responsibility to regulate political parties, especially with respect to internal party elections to select candidates for election.

Although Lukman noted that progress is being made to enhance the processes of election management in the country, the management of political parties remained very backward.

The PGF DG blamed the lack of professionalism and says the absence of viable democratic funding sources are major characteristics of Nigerian political parties.

According to Lukman, the critical issue of citizens’ participation in politics and how it leads to the difficult task of candidates’ selection is an issue that appears to be the cause of most of the frustration of Nigerians with politics and politicians.

He said that the current mode of choosing candidates for elections in virtually all political parties in the country is through the indirect method of using delegates in all parties. He however noted that the rationale for direct primary based on expanding the democratic space for membership participation is hardly contestable.

The DG believed that the direct mode of primary as included in the amendment of the electoral bill will give Nigerians more power to be actively involved in politics, adding that for the Senate to propose an amendment to the Electoral Act to compel parties to use direct primaries to select candidates for election is informed by this reality.

He however upheld that unless the core issues of membership recruitment and management, party funding, and administration are addressed in Nigeria, problems of internal democracy within political parties in the country will continue.

He concluded that as much as enabling legal framework is required to guarantee internal democracy within parties, political leaders at all levels should be ready to make the right sacrifices.

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