From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Elder statesman and second republic presidential adviser, Tanko Yakasai, has urged the National Assembly to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Amendment Bill.
He stated this, yesterday, while responding to the argument by the Attorney General of the Federation (ACF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami on why President Buhari had declined to sign the proposed law.
Yakasai, who faulted Malami’s arguments on a Radio Kano phone-in programme said that there was nothing wrong with direct primaries saying it was practiced in most advanced democracies such as America, Germany, India and China.
The elder statesman told Daily Sun that if direct primary was working in those countries, it would work as well in Nigeria.
“All that he (Malami) has said are nothing but excuses. When you don’t want to do a thing, you give excuses. But that does not mean you are right or that you are convincing. If we go by his argument, it means that we would never have direct primaries in Nigeria, there’ll never be a day when the people of Nigeria will directly select their leaders.”
Yakasai said indirect primary was offensive and antithetical to genuine democracy as it does not, at any time, capture the real choice of the people.
He said genuine democracy meant the participation of the people in the selection of their leaders through an election process where they are directly involved.
He said President Buhari emerged through a direct electoral process saying: “If it is good for Buhari to emerge from direct primaries, why is not good for another Nigerian to also emerge as a product of direct primaries?”
Yakasai said the Federal Government cannot complain of cost implications on direct primaries, at this time when it has not considered other alternative approaches which are less expensive than the amount Malami was projecting. He recommended that the people be made to stand behind candidates of their choice or behind posters of their preferred candidates as a cost effective alternative.