By Celestine Ajayi
Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant for the forthcoming Ekiti State Governorship Election has stressed the need for a direct primary mode of selecting candidates for elective offices.
He said that the direct mode of primary election would promote full participation of all party members in the decision-making process leading to selection of their preferred leaders.
Bamidele who represents Ekiti Central in the National Assembly said this on Friday in Abuja at the APC National Secretariat after submitting his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to contest the election.
The Ekiti State governorship election is slated for June 18.
Bamidele who is also the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Right and Legal Matters, had purchased the forms on Dec. 14, 2021.
He also said that the direct primary mode would allow the most popular aspirant to emerge as the flag bearer of any political party.
He, however, expressed optimism that the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill into law would not foreclose his chances in the governorship race.
According to him, by the time the National Assembly resumes next week, all issues around the bill would be addressed on a common ground of advantage to both the legislature and the executive arms of government.
“Well, I also want to say that, you may not have a particular mode that will be acceptable to all aspirants at the same time and that’s part of the essence of democracy.
“And that’s why the constitution of the party provides for three different modes of conducting primary election. One is the direct primary mode, the second one is indirect primary and the third one is the consensus mode.
“So it’s up to the leadership of the party, but if I would speak for myself, I would say definitely it cannot be census,” he said.
He disclosed that about seven aspirants had obtained forms to contest the election, adding that the sales of forms has not closed yet.
“The sales of forms is not closed yet, meaning that anytime between now and Jan. 11, there could be more aspirants coming in to join the race.
“So in that kind of a situation, you don’t push for a consensus unless it is coming from within and among the aspirants themselves.
“The two other modes that will then appear to be open are either the direct or the indirect mode of primary.
“If you ask me as an individual what is my preference, I would say I prefer the direct mode of primaries.
” It also helps to ensure that the most popular aspirant emerged which also gave a lot of impetus to the rank and file of the party,” he said.
Bamidele also said that the direct primaries was a way of giving power back to the people.
“Basically, the refusal of President Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Bill is not because he is fundamentally opposed to direct mode of primaries, but because of some logistics concerns.
“But the good thing about it is if you do direct primaries in an isolated election holding in Ekiti or in Osun which would be the only election in the country by the time is holding,
‘I don’t think that is a kind of logistic concern that would offset anything or cause pain for anyone.” So, I really feel that the leadership of the party, will take whatever decision that is in the best interest of the party,” Bamidele said.