as APC breaks records

By Karounwi Oladapo

I have participated in a number of Direct Primaries, the first being the contest for the Councillorship election in 1996 and in the House of Representatives Primaries of ACN in 2007. Though, I won both but I knew the processes were not credible!
The situation and experience are the same over time and in other jurisdictions up to the last 2021 APC Gubernatorial Direct Primaries in Anambra State.

The characteristics are that people queue up behind the agents or posters of their preferred Aspirants. There is no accreditation to ascertain the membership and number of accredited voters before the voting because Political Parties hardly provide credible and verifiable membership registers for such exercise since most Parties operate without membership records and documentation.

Therefore, it is very easy for aspirants to import students from higher institutions as voters and thugs to molest, intimidate and destroy the voting process where it is not favourable to them. Hence, it is easy for the election Returning Officers to write bogus results for their favoured aspirants. Direct Primaries have always been associated with credibility crisis!

There is no paper trail and there is no proper records of proceeding for the Direct Primaries. Hence, there are no verifiable evidence for the aggrieved to seek for justice in the law Court. This situation forced me to develop a mantra that “Direct Primary is Direct rigging”

However, the January 27, 2022 Direct Primaries conducted by the APC in Ekiti State has changed the narratives. The APC electoral reform to strengthen internal democracy was experimented in Ekiti State and the outcome excited Nigerians. Ekiti APC Gubernatorial Primaries is now a benchmark and a model for Direct Primaries in Nigeria. APC indeed broke records and contributed to democratic reforms in Nigeria. This achievement couldn’t have been possible without a properly documented APC membership registers which was a product of the nationwide APC membership registration and validation exercise conducted in 2021 under the leadership of the APC Caretaker Chairman, Mai Mala Buni.

Below are the new characteristics of the reformed Direct Primaries as witnessed in Ekiti State on January 27, 2022.

  1. Certified copies of Ekiti APC Membership registers were made available from the APC National headquarters.
  2. Specific period for voters’ accreditation became part of the party’s guidelines.( 8.00am- 12.00pm).
  3. Marking of thumb with indelible ink as an evidence of being accredited was introduced.
  4. Specific time was specified in the guidelines for voting to commence and end.
  5. Provision was made for the results of those accredited to be known and recorded on the results sheets before voting by queuing behind agents or posters.
  6. Counting of voters to be done openly in the full glare of everybody, including the INEC officials and Security Agencies, and under video recordings and other pictorials.
  7. Results to be recorded on the original results sheets at the polling units with INEC officials and Security Agencies as witnesses.
  8. Wards results to be collated at the local government levels and final collation to be done at the State level before the declaration of results and winner of elections.

All these steps and processes were religiously followed and that was what we witnessed in Ekiti State in the Primaries that threw up Mr. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, BAO as the winner and Gubernatorial Candidate of the APC for June 18, 2022 election.

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