From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said he pushed for the inclusion of direct primaries for nomination of party candidates in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to open up the political space.
He stated this, yesterday, when Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, visited him in Abuja.
The speaker explained that direct primaries would bring more accountability, as it would make public office holders work for the interest of their party members and the electorate in general.
He said though some members of the political class were not comfortable with direct primaries, majority of Nigerians were in support of it.
Gbajabiamila had during the clause by clause consideration of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, proposed that direct primary be compulsory for the nomination of candidates of all political parties.
Defending direct primaries while hosting the sports minister, he said: “If I know that my return will depend on some few men, I may care about you. But if I know that my return will depend on my accountability and representation to the people, I will do the right thing. It is important for this generation to open the door of leadership to the next generation. We must allow every Nigerian to participate fully in the process of leadership. I, therefore, stand with direct primary. That’s why I said at different fora that I am for direct primaries. We have to do this for the sake of the institution. When you gather yourselves (as youths), chances are that you’ll win. Democracy is a government of the people. Democracy is not just a general election. It starts from the primaries.”
Gbajabiamila challenged youths in the country to advantage of the proposed new electoral law to participate more actively in politics.