Director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, yesterday implored the party’s Caretake Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to give a specific date for the party’s national convention.
He denied being averse to the provision in the amended Electoral Act Bill making direct primary compulsory for political parties.
Lukman who stated this during the unveiling of his new book, “APC and Campaign for New Nigeria”, in Abuja, asked members of the National Assembly’s to rejig the areas of contention the rejected bill and forward same to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
“I am not opposed to direct primary, but there are some conditions which must be met for direct primary to be able to provide the democratic platform that will confirm the voice of individual members of the party”, he said.
While urging the Mai Mala Buni-led national caretaker committee to be specific on the date of the national convention, the PGF DG said, “I’m happy from the information we got from the media. The Caretaker Committee has confirmed that the convention is going to take place in February.
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“My appeal is for the Caretaker Committee to remain proactive; certain issues should not be allowed to go into speculation. Information about the date of the convention, I think should be made public so that every party member knows when the convention is going to hold in February.
“We must commend the leadership of H.E, Mai Mala Buni, for rising to that occasion and affirming that the February date is sacrosanct. So party members should look forward to a specific date that will be announced by the Caretaker Committee.
“Some of those conditions include the fact that the membership of the political party must be very clear; it should not be in dispute. In APC, we are very clear in terms of ensuring that we prioritize the question of developing the membership database of our party.
That was why we went through the process of membership registration and revalidation.
“The whole debate about direct or indirect primary is basically an APC issue. To that extent, my position is to appeal to the leadership of the National Assembly to provide the necessary leadership so that we don’t muddle up issues.
“My argument is that the original bill which went for public hearing did not include all those provisions. It was out of the momentary anger I think, against governors following the management of the Congresses that led to the situation whereby National Assembly NASS members felt compelled to amend the law and include direct primaries.
“The issues that are necessary in the Electoral Act which are not contentious are issues of electronic transmission of results and all the other issues.
“I think they should work on it and submit it to Mr. President for assent. The other issues of direct primaries should go through the normal legislative process and if it is passed, so be it, so that we don’t throw the baby away with the bath water,” he said.