Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has insisted that direct primaries is the only accountable method for political parties to elect candidates to stand for elections in Nigeria.
He said direct primaries would bring more accountability and adequate representation as political office holders would not be restricted to pleasing a group of few people selected as delegates, but would work for the interest of the generality of their party members, and by extension the electorate.
Besides, Gbajabiamila said he observed that many Nigerians, especially the youths, want to participate fully in the election of those that would represent them, right from the grassroots level, hence his resolve to champion direct primaries.
The Speaker, who hosted a delegation of the Nigerian youths on a thank you visit for his role on direct primaries led by the minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, said he preferred a situation where the political space is opened for all, including the youths, to participate fully.
Gbajabiamila said some members of the political class may not be comfortable with the arrangement, but that the majority of the masses are in support of it, which he said would give them the opportunity of deciding who would represent them.
Advancing some of the reasons, Gbajabiamila said: “If I know that my return will depend on some few men, I may care about you. But if I know that my return will depend on my accountability and representation to the people, I will do the right thing,” he said.
Earlier, Dare said the visit was to thank the speaker for moving the amendment for direct primaries, which he said would accommodate the Nigerian youth in the political space.
One of the youths’ representatives, Miss Patience Eze, who is the spokesperson of NYCN, thanked the speaker for working for the Nigerian youths in different ways, including on the issue of the direct primaries.
Also yesterday, Gbajabiamila advocated for the full integration in Africa using the legislative instrument to have a common passport, market and a single customs and monetary union.
At the opening of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region 51st Conference in Abuja, Gbajabiamila said there was the need to “agree to use the instruments of trade and common markets to set us irreversibly on the path to a future of honourable peace, abiding prosperity and brotherhood amongst the nations of Africa.”
In his welcome address, he said the CPA Africa Region had and would continue to play an essential role in advancing democracy in Africa, noting that it provided an opportunity for parliamentarians across Africa to engage with and learn from each other about the challenges they shared and the strategies for overcoming them.