Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum Kayode Fayemi has highlighted the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari in declining assent to the direct primary clause in the electoral bill the federal lawmakers expected him to sign.
The Ekiti governor said direct, indirect, on consensus primary make no difference to the Nigerian governors, thus dismissing the suspicion governors are happy Buhari refused to sign the bill into law.
“What is governors’ interest and concern is that opportunities are given for an inclusive process,” he told newsmen after meeting Buhari at the Villa on Tuesday.
Citing his own experience of winning elections twice through direct and idirect primary, Fayemi insisted his colleagues don’t care what mode Nigeria adopts.
“I can tell you that it really doesn’t matter to any governor whether you have primaries via direct mode or an indirect mode,’ he said.
But Benue Gov Samuel Ortom, Rivers Nyesome Wike, both PDP, and Kebbi’s Atiku Bagudu, among others, have steadily cared about the mode.
Ortom and Wike say forcing a mode on the parties is not democratic. The bill even split the APC governors forum into two.
Many believe Nigerian governor have a stranglehold of election in their states by blocking out opposing interest, especially in the Senate and LGA elections, with the use of state resources.
That is the reason many Nigerians believe Buhari should have signed the bill to make the participation at the grassroots more robust
Fayemi however defended the president, saying he showed courage.
“I think we all should commend the courage of Mr. President to stand with the people,’ he said.
According to him, Buhari too has seen both worlds of direct and indirect primary, and he is not afraid of any mode, having won his first term ticket through indirect primaries.
“In 2019, when he was coming back, he came back via a direct primary. And I don’t think he’s somebody to be lectured about the pros and cons of either processes,” Fayemi added.