*Lagos, Kano, Niger go for direction election
By Chesa Chesa
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 33 of the 36 states of the federation have adopted indirect primaries to pack candidates for the 2019 general elections.
Only Lagos, Kano and Niger States have opted to use direct primaries to select their APC candidates.
This was disclosed on Thursday by Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, who argued that the issues of direct or indirect primaries for the APC were not as controversial as being portrayed in some quarters.
Masari told State House correspondents on Thursday in Abuja after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari that the issue of primaries had also been settled, so whatever option that is adopted by any state does not breach the party’s constitution.
His words: “It is not a hot cake. From all the states that we have read and heard, Lagos, Kano and Niger are the only states that have opted for direct primaries in a country of 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). So, I think it shouldn’t be a contentious issue.
“In fact, the constitution of the party is very clear; there is nothing contentious in this. The constitution of the party recognises direct, consensus and indirect primaries. Whichever method is adopted, nobody is breaching the constitution of the party; so what is the big deal about it?”
Masari assured President Buhari of over 2.5 million votes from the state in next year’s presidential election.
“The people of Katsina are 100 per cent behind President Buhari and they will continue to support him even after the elections of 2019.
“We expect that based on figures coming out of the registered voters to give him nothing less than 70 to 80 per cent. We don’t have the figures now because they have completed additional registration; we are not talking about the last exercise that led to the election of 2015.
“In 2015, he got almost 1.5 million votes from Katsina State, so we expect by 2019 that we will be able to give him additional one million, making it not less than 2.5 million votes”, he said.
On the setting up of Electoral Offences Commission as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, the governor said that it was a welcome development given the lengthy time it takes to conclude elections court cases.
According to him, “during the Uwais Committee, we were heading some sub-committees of former legislators, former and serving governors and we made presentations and part of our recommendations is that apart from the independence of the electoral body, to establish this tribunal so that at least, it will help in sanitising the electoral process.
“The legal system as at today is prolonged; cases are decided when you have even forgotten about your offence and I think this will help to sanitise and make the elections more credible,” he said.