Electoral Act: Governors Uneasy Over Limited Control On Delegates
Post created on 12:53 pm
With the delay in assenting to the amendment of Section 84 (8) of the Electoral Act by President Muhammadu Buhari, governors are being squeezed out of their quest to deliver their states to their preferred presidential aspirants. It was gathered that some governors are lamenting their imminent absence at the primaries unlike in the past. There are also fears that the governors may lose their hold on states’ delegates, especially during the presidential primaries.
Currently, presidential aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are devising fresh strategies to woo the few delegates that will elect the standard-bearers. Non-assent to the crucial amendment transmitted by the National Assembly to President Buhari on May 13 has many implications. It means that elected officials, such as the president, governors, lawmakers, local council chairmen, ministers and other high-ranking political top-shots who used to be super delegates at party conventions in the past will not be part of the delegates now. It also means that only ad-hoc delegates elected for the purpose at the congresses of the parties in the various states will elect the presidential candidates.
The absence of statutory or super-delegates means that only 810 delegates will be at the PDP presidential primaries, while that of APC is 2,340 delegates. With this development, many presidential aspirants, who were thinking about consensus candidates have decided to test their strength and popularity in the primaries.
The immediate past Minister of State for Education, and presidential aspirant on the platform of the APC, Chief Emeka Nwajiuba, said yesterday that the South-East zone is not working on any consensus arrangement. Aspirants from the zone had earlier said they would support any of them who wins the ticket.
Also, the possibility of a consensus candidate emerging from the South-West on the platform of the APC may not be feasible, according to reports. A source disclosed that the only way a consensus candidate can emerge is if there is an imposition. The source said: “Between you and me, the contest is looking tight. You want to talk to someone about consensus and the aspirants have gone far in meeting with the delegates.
“As an aspirant, you have an idea of the number of delegates who have assured you of supporting you at the primary; at that point, a consensus arrangement cannot work. That is what I have read and seen. Is it the Vice-President, who has gone round the states of the federation and getting assurances, whether genuine or otherwise, you will ask to step down for someone?
“If you have been doing that and someone or groups are asking you to support consensus, would you agree to it? If you look at the race now, the game is narrowing down.
“Consensus is not impossible but what I am saying is that it is going to be tight because aspirants have gone far in their campaigns.”
However, the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had disclosed that the South-West leaders and elders would soon reach a consensus on producing a presidential aspirant for the zone ahead of the 2023 presidential election. Osinbajo said: “I believe strongly in the wisdom of Yoruba elders and leaders, and consultations are always ongoing. I believe that very soon we will resolve whatever differences that exist and we will reach an agreement on the way forward.”