2019: Why We Adopted Indirect Primaries— Rivers APC
Barth Ndubuwah,Papparassi, Port Harcourt.
Amidst criticisms from splinter group of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in Rivers State, especially those from the camp of Senator Magnus Abe, member representing Rivers South East at the National Assembly, who is also a gubernatorial aspirant of APC in the 2019 general elections in the State. Some APC stakeholders and party stalwarts have explained what informed their decision.
First to speak to our Correspondent on that matter was Senator, representing Rivers East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Andrew Uchendu.
According to him, since the inception of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, as a foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and now in APC, the norm has always been indirect primaries, which he said is election by delegates. Therefore there is no reason to alter the process.
Senator Uchendu also identified the precarious security situation in Rivers State as reason for the choice of indirect primary to select candidates for the 2019 general elections in the State. “With the security situation in Rivers State where the party has been denied venues for programmes, it will be difficult or even unsafe to gather as much as one million party members at a place for direct primaries. So the best bet is indirect primaries and that was what the State Executive Committee(SEC) has adopted during their meeting,” Uchendu explained.
As for lawmaker representing Port Harcourt Constituency 1(PHALGA)at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Victoria Nyeche, it will be easier to manage about 300 delegates through indirect primaries, than to manage the entire party faithful in direct primaries.
Hon Nyeche also said the indirect primaries will be cost effective as compared to direct primaries. She dismissed insinuations that some members will be disenfranchised through indirect primaries. According to her, “is like PHALGA 1 Constituents complaining that they are not speaking ,when they have elected me to speak for them at the Rivers State House of Assembly as a legislator. Again this has been the pattern since 1999 and it has been working, so you don’t change a winning team,” she emphasized.
The State lawmaker added that the decision of the State Executive Committee (SEC)members, comprising the ward, local government and state is enough to produce acceptable flag –bearers for APC in Rivers State for the 2019 general elections.
For the former Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly in the 7th Assembly, Hon Chidi Lloyd, in view of the problem of inadequate data to ascertain the accurate members of APC in the State , the best option is indirect primaries, which he said dated back to the Bible. “To avoid people importing strangers from outside the state with long buses by our detractors in the name of primaries, the wisest thing to do is indirect primaries and that is what we have adopted today by voting for indirect primaries. Indirect primary election is simply representative democracy,” Lloyd said.