(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Members of the National Assembly, who wanted to use the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 to check the over bearing influences of state governors were on Monday disappointed when it became clear to them that the president will not assent to the bill which prescribed the use of direct primaries and electronic transmission of election results.
The complaint among some politicians had been that, the governors have not been providing level playing grounds for aspirants in the states but often skew the process in favour of their preferred candidates. The intention of the federal lawmakers was to use the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, to hand the power to choose party representatives in elections to party members who will participate in direct primaries.
Meanwhile, there are strong fears that some governors are encouraging many people to run. While the action may appear altruistic on the surface, the emerging resort to black mail by some aspirants in order to reduce the chances of others, may make it difficult for them to agree on one person thereby providing a valid excuse for party leadership to step in – since the party must have a candidate in every election.
In Rivers State for instance, the list of aspirants who are desirous of succeeding Governor Nyesom Wike are increasing on a daily basis. Among those said o be on the list are Hons. Boma Iyaye, Mracus Nle – Eji, David Briggs and Dunnamene Deeko. Other are Senators George Sekibo and Barry Mpigi; Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, Bro. Felix Obua, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Dr.Abiye Sekibo and Engr. Emeka Woke, among others.
Meanwhile, there are indications that some politicians, who were friends until Governor Nyesom Wike gave the green light to those who want to succeed him to commence consultations have suddenly become enemies as they seek to outsmart one another in the race to capture the Rivers State seat of power in 2023.
With the direct primaries idea dead and buried with the failure of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2021, it is most likely that, the ultimate decision on who will fly each party flag may be determined by the leadership of the parties, especially in situations where the aspirants are unable to agree to step down for one another.