The PUNCH has learned that governors who are members of the All Progressives Congress have been unable to reach an agreement on a common viewpoint on the direct manner of primaries imposed on political parties by the National Assembly.
According to reports, the 22 APC governors met on Sunday but were unable to reach an agreement.
Governors Disagree Over Direct Primary Election
When the topic came up for discussion during a meeting of the Progressive Governors’ Forum held at the Kebbi State Governor’ s Lodge in Abuja, it reportedly devolved into a shouting brawl between two governors from the North- Central zone.
While some governors, who claim to sympathize with the party’ s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, wanted the National Assembly’ s position to be respected, others argued that because democracy is about choices, parties should be given options to choose from.
Tinubu Loyalist Support Direct Primary
Abdullahi Sule, the governor of Nasarawa State and one of the most prominent supporters of power returning to the South in 2023, spoke out in favor of direct primaries, while others who favored indirect primaries found a champion in Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello.
The meeting began on a friendly note, with the governors trading banter before getting down to business, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
” They had decided to recommend February as the date for the convention so that the President could pick a day that suited him best. ” This came after the Governor Mai Mala Buni- led interim committee received a vote of confidence from party congresses held around the country.
Electoral Act Escalate The Issue
Trouble began, however, when the question of the National Assembly’ s change to the Electoral Act came up. Abdullahi Sule, the governor of Nasarawa State, who advocated in favor of direct primaries, used comments that his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello, found insulting, sparking a war of words. Abubakar Bagudu, the Chairman of the PGF and the Governor of Kebbi State, was instrumental in restoring calm. ”
Bagudu told reporters after the meeting that the governors exclusively discussed matters related to good governance.
When asked what decision was made about direct primaries for candidate selection, he stated that the final decision would be presented at the meeting with the President.
Governors Met With President Buhari Over The Issue
Despite the dispute, The PUNCH has learned that Bagudu, together with Buni and Jigawa State Governor Mohammed Badaru, met the President to discuss the issue.
Bagudu has openly criticized the direct primary method’ s inclusion in the Electoral Amendment Bill, which has been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senate President Met With President Buhari
However, before the three governors could meet with Buhari, Senate President Ahmad Lawan paid a visit to the President in the hopes of persuading him to sign the disputed bill.
After meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, Lawan told State House correspondents that before sending anything to the President in the form of a bill for his assent, both chambers of the National Assembly consult widely to capture the inputs of the majority of the people.
2022 Budget Will Be Signed Before Christmas
Lawan stated that the National Assembly would pass the 2022 Appropriation Bill before the Christmas break.
He acknowledged that the APC was facing hurdles as a result of its congresses, stressing that Buhari had formed a national reconciliation committee, chaired by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to address the issues.
” You also know that we have legislation that is pending Mr. President’ s consideration, and for us in the legislature, we’ ve finished our duty of passing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, ” he said of the direct primary debate. Mr. President must now consult with his assistants and others who regularly counsel him in order to choose the best course of action.
” We also want to make sure the APC is reliable before the convention, since we want our convention to run smoothly. ” We want every member of this party who comes to the convention to be in good spirits.
That whoever becomes chairman, for example, or whatever leadership arises, gets the respect of everyone in the party, because we want Mr. President to continue working with a strong party, the APC. We want President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to keep up the wonderful job they’ ve been doing across the country and consolidate at the end of his term. ”
When asked how the party would maintain stability, especially in light of the governors’ dissatisfaction with the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Lawan stated that the way out of any issue was for people to become involved.
Well, you see, this kind of argument happens sometimes, ” he explained. When they do, I believe that the greatest path forward is for everyone to participate. I’ ve always believed, and I’ ve advocated, that members of the National Assembly are key stakeholders, as are the APC governors. In fact, the Presidency is a huge stakeholder; in fact, it is the most important stakeholder since it leads the administration, and our party must always strive to bring everyone together.
So, anytime any segment of a party disagrees with something, we should engage; that’ s why we’ re politicians; we need that sort of platform where we can talk about the problems, get to know each other, and then do whatever it takes to minimize the disagreement. ”
Lawan, on the other hand, stated that the National Assembly expects Buhari to sign the law in its current form.
” I don’ t have a personal perspective here, because I’ m not here alone, ” the Senate President replied when asked if direct primaries were the best way to go. As a result, I don’ t have a personal viewpoint. My viewpoint is shared by members of the National Assembly. “