Ex-Gov Osoba backs direct primary
Former Ogun Governor Olusegun Osoba has declared support for direct primary for the choice of candidates by political parties.
The eminent politician urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to the Electoral Act Bill, which now contains direct mode as approved by the National Assembly.
Osoba, an All Progressives Congress (APC) elder, described President Buhari as a product of direct primary.
The elder statesman received a delegation of senators across party lines and geo-political zones who stormed London to wish him speedy recovery from a recent knee surgery.
Hale and hearty, he said eyes were on the country as it warms up for future polls.
The delegation comprises of Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West); Senator Kashim Shetima (APC, Borno Central); Senator Isah Jubril(APC, Kogi East); Senator Micheal Nnachi(PDP, Ebonyi South); Senator Ayo Akinyelure(PDP, Ondo Central); Senator Gershon Bassey(PDP, Cross River South); Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf(APC, Taraba Central),; Senator Sadiq Sulaiman Umar(APC, Kwara North); Senator Tokunbo Abiru(APC, Lagos East); Senator Bashiru Ajibola(APC, Osun Central) and Senator Hassan Mohamed Gusau(APC, Zamfara Central).
Osoba said: “I have a feeling he will sign it. The president himself is a product of direct primary. He submitted himself to direct primary in 2019 throughout the country. Heaven did not fall.
“After he subjected himself to direct primary throughout Nigeria in all the wards, he also subjected himself to a National Convention to ratify his election at the primary. And quote me, I had cause to tell him at our National Caucus during Edo election issue that “Mr. President, if you can subject yourself to direct primary and national convention, I do not see why anybody should be afraid of direct primary.
“I said this to him and we must be honest when we are talking to our leaders. That is why I believe that the President, having been a product of direct primary, will sign the law for direct primary.”
Osoba noted that the 9th National Assembly has done very well for the country by supporting what they think is right for the executive and the country.
He said this is the payback time for the executives to pay back the National Assembly that overwhelmingly passed the new electoral law to include direct primary.
Osoba added: “In the case of direct primary, we are running a presidential system of government pattern after that of the USA. It is direct primary in USA that we copied.
“Why are we selective? If we don’t want direct primary, then, let us go back to parliamentary system like India where party caucuses select candidates. We cannot be selective on some aspects of the presidential system that we practice while jettisoning what is its democratic content.
“I am confident that the President as a product of direct primary will do the right thing. I want to commend all of you. We need to democratize. The idea of ‘we’ governors handpicking should stop. Let the people have a say.
” I commend the 9th National Assembly and appeal to the president in the interest of the country and democracy to sign the new electoral law.”
Adeola, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the senators, who were in London, decided to pay him ‘a get well quick visit’ and tap from his wisdom.
He said Osoba’s wealth of experience is needed as Nigeria forges ahead in difficult times, adding that it is gratifying that he is recovering from his surgery as evidenced in his coming to receive them at the door from the first floor and going back up with them to the sitting room upstairs.
Senator Shetima, who spoke on behalf of other senators, said the lawmakers came as Nigerians devoid of any political party or regional coloration to wish him well as an elder stateman at 82.
The former governor of Bornu State noted that Osoba has contributed to the nation through journalism and public service.
Shetima ssid: “As senators of the Federal Republic, all of us are interested in the growth and progress of our nation.
“We did not come here for partisan consideration, but to seek wisdom from an elder stateman that had contributed positively to the growth of the nation and still willing to do more even in advanced age.”