The modified direct primaries approved by the All Progressives Congress on Thursday for its primaries, including that for the selection of its presidential candidate ahead of next year’s general elections, continued to cause a stir among aspirants, forcing some to change their strategies.
The voting system endorsed by APC’s National Executive Committee would involve participation by about 300, 000 party members who will be voting to determine the party’s presidential candidate, according to National Publicity Lai Muhammed. .
A former national publicity secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said the method will discourage the activities of moneybags at the presidential primaries. He said the decision would most likely favour General Muhammadu Buhari, who is known for his grassroots popularity.
One of the immediate implications of the direct primaries is that a presidential aspirant will have to be popular and have extensive support network to win. But late entrants into the opposition party may be disadvantaged.
Another issue is the financial implication the direct primaries will impose on aspirants. It will require aspirants to establish campaign structures in many areas and ensure visible presence among the members.
The aspirants are currently thinking through their strategies to ensure that that they fits into the new modalities.
Fashakin, said, “Direct primaries is a good omen for the party. It takes into consideration the overwhelming interest of the majority of the members.
“In 2011, Buhari garnered over 11 million votes to come second in the presidential polls and those were clean votes, votes that were not obtained through manipulation. So I salute the courage of the national leadership for adopting direct primaries. It shows that they understand the game very well.”
On his part, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has hailed the modified direct primaries introduced by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the conduct of the forthcoming Adamawa State gubernatorial by-election slated for October 11, 2014, as well as other primaries including the presidential primaries coming up at a later period.
In a press statement issued by his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President said the modified direct primary is the best under the circumstances and nearest to the best under ideal democratic setting.
Supporters of Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, who is also being mentioned as a presidential aspirant, said he, too, would be a major beneficiary of the modified direct primaries. Spokesman for the Kwakwansia Ambassadors of Nigeria (KAN), a group supporting the governor’s aspiration, Yusuf Danjuma, said at the weekend, “It is his antecedents, his performance in office, what Nigerians evaluate him with that will give him the chances. It is the decision of Nigerians that matters in this case and we are very confident that Governor Kwakwanso will emerge the winner.
“If you have not traversed all parts of the country, then why should you want to be a president? That is why the party is saying that the flag bearer will have to be elected by about 300,000 of our members.”
The media office of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also said in a statement that Atiku hailed the modified direct primaries introduced by APC for the conduct of the forthcoming Adamawa State governorship bye-election slated for October 11 as well as other primaries, including the presidential primaries