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Direct primary championed by lawmakers fighting their governors – Gov Yahaya Bello

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said lawmakers, who have problems with their governors, are the ones who pushed for the direct primary provision to be included in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

Bello said the lawmakers brought their personal agenda into the bill, which was wrong.

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The governor said this while featuring on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television monitored by one of our correspondents on Wednesday.

Bello said, “Let me tell you that I will always caution that whenever we are making laws or taking decisions, we should not be basing them on the impulse of the moment. Do you nationalise your personal problems (with your governor)?

“We are not saying that anybody is afraid of direct primaries, but let me tell you: the drafters of the party’s constitution, especially as it affects the APC, envisaged that there could be a situation where one particular mode of primary is not feasible, then you adopt another.”

He denied that state governors were afraid of restriction of political parties to direct primaries in the amendments to the Electoral Act, adding that they only warned against the implications of the limitation in the future.

Bello stated that any governor who was afraid of direct primaries was not popular in his state.

He partly said, “On this issue of taking the party back to the people, the question is, who took the party away from the people in the first place? Is it the legislature or the executive? I think the party remains with the people. Mr President in his wisdom said ‘rebuild this party from bottom up and ensure that credible Nigerians are members and executives of this party, starting from mobilisation and registration of members into our party’.

“Despite all the hues and cries, and de-marketing of Mr President and his administration, we have recorded more members in the party than ever before.”

Responding to a question on governors determining who gets parties’ tickets for elections, the governor said the lawmakers must have been the beneficiaries if such happened.

While admitting that the governors were leaders of the party in the states, Bello argued that the APC determines its candidates, saying, “Ours is just to provide the leadership, while the people determine (the candidates).”

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