Why Governors May Win The Tussle Over Direct Primary After Malami's Revelation

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The Senate had approved direct primary for all political parties in Nigeria as the only mode for choosing candidates for elections.

However, it appears that Governors are not in support of that mode of primary. Different reports have it that some Governors are moving to stop the bill from being signed into law and they are lobbying key people in government to convince President Muhammadu Buhari to reject it.

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Many political analysts felt that the move to use direct primary being pushed by the Senators is to reduce the overbearing influence of Governors in the party in their various states. On the contrary, the Senators claim that direct primary is more democratic and it allows more card carrying members of the party to choose their candidates. The bill has been passed and it is waiting to be assented to (signed into law) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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What Malami revealed

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has revealed that Buhari would be guided by the security and financial implications while deciding whether or not to sign the bill on direct primary which was passed by the Senate. He also said that the current economic situation in Nigeria would be considered and it would help Buhari to decide whether to sign the bill or not.

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From the foregoing, Buhari is very likely to veto the bill (refuse to assent to it.). This is because there are prevailing conditions in Nigeria he may rely on to reject the bill going by what Malami disclosed. This article will discuss two of the reasons why the Buhari may refuse to sign the bill which would make the Governors win their move to stop the bill from succeeding. In fact, a report by The Punch has it that Governors from the ruling party also lobbied Malami to convince Buhari from approving the bill.

(1). The cost implication is high. At a time when oil price is low, revenues are dropping and exchange rate is high amid other financial responsibilities the government has to shoulder, it may be hard to convince the government to approve the direct primary which is costlier. This is one reason why Buhari may agree to reject the bill at this time when cash crunch is creeping in the more.

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(2). Direct primary requires more security than indirect. At such a critical time when insecurity is a serious challenge in Nigeria, managing large gatherings are very difficult. Direct primary involves large number of people who need to be protected by security agents. Moreover, such large gatherings can also pose a security threat as criminal elements may want to exploit such large gatherings to carry out attacks since they target large number of people. Among other reasons, these are the two main arguments that may convince Buhari to reject the bill. If this happens, it will help the Governors who are against the direct primary to win the move against the direct primary.

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