… Fight for political supremacy begins

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is not one to hide how he feels on burning issues of national interest.

This time, the Governor is disturbed by moves being made by the National Assembly to bring matters of candidate selection within political parties under the nation’s electoral act.

Wike who embraced the decision of the Senate on Tuesday to reverse its earlier position on the electronic transmission of national election results is however uncomfortable with attempts to impose the idea of direct primaries on political parties.

The Rivers Governor posited that political parties should be allowed the freedom to choose options for selecting aspirants for office from their ranks.

According to him, such a posture by federal lawmakers could equally impede efforts by political parties to advance internal democracy.

Already, the decision to legislate on the issue is generating widespread reactions.

While some Nigerians say direct primaries might become too difficult and expensive to manage, others are arguing it would make it impossible for money bags to hijack the process of picking candidates.

Wike in his reaction has made no reference to the merit or demerits of direct primaries.

But his view that political parties may be robbed of the opportunity to decide how they want to select their respective candidates might find some support in the nation’s political space.

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There are imputations, which are unconfirmed, that lawmakers may be targeting state governors who might become invincible if the indirect mode is allowed to subsist.

Now that the Senate has acted, attention is shifting in the direction of the House of Representatives. What will the House do?

It is obvious that the committees of both chambers of the National Assembly would sit to resolve differences which may arise.

Both chambers had come under severe criticism for refusing to allow the inclusion of e-transmission of electoral results, with a former Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega lashing out at the APC and the PDP.

Given moves which suggest a third force may be working silently behind the scene, the APC and the PDP are likely to step up their resolve to remain dominant forces on Nigeria’s political terrain.

Recall that when the decision to halt the introduction of electronic voting was taken, PDP members in parliament staged workouts in order to express their displeasure.

To avert the threat of a possible implosion, the PDP and the APC are talking increasingly about the adoption of a concensus arrangement as they head towards the conduct of their national conventions.

The PDP would be the first to hold its convention. When that happens, the nation would be watching curiously to see what the fallout is most likely to be.

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