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How President BUHARI Dribbled Aspirants @ The Primaries

As the APC Primary gets intense, APC politicians are not happy with Pres. Muhammadu Buhari has caused them great pain and anguish. President in his usual style outsmarted many Nigerian politicians and beat them to their own game.

Over the years, since 2015, the man who was usually perceived as clueless, and slow has always found a way to shock the so-called experienced political leaders. And by his recent move and decision, he has again wounded a lot of politicians, barely a couple of days before the primaries of the 2 parties, especially that of his All Progressive Congress, APC Presidential Primary.

In a shocking move, Buhari turned down the recently amended Electoral Act to the dismay of lawmakers and presidential aspirants, by refusing to accent that every delegate votes at the party primaries.

This came after the majority of aspirants had gone around the states to canvass the delegates for a vote and had incurred millions of dollars to get them to support their interest, only for the president to shock them by reducing the number of delegates from 7,880 to barely 2,340.

Recall that about a couple of weeks ago, the National Assembly amended the electoral act, including that statutory delegates should vote.

When the President was signing the previous amended electoral act a couple of months ago, he notified the lawmakers of his reservations, which is subsection 12 of section 84. He directed them to go back and ensure that appointed politicians who are willing to contest to do so without resigning but to ask of a leave of absence for the period of campaign and election. The lawmakers allegedly deceived the President and told him they will work on the amendment act once he gives an accent to it.

Immediately after the president signed the bill, the lawmakers shunned the president’s request to adjust the document and believed that the game was over. The lawmakers would later find a porous end in the same law they thought had been perfected to favour them. They amended subsection 8 of Section 84 and now had to go to the same Buhari to give an accent to it. This is the amendment that would allow Statutory delegates to vote.

The first amended document that Buhari signed in March 2022 was the one that restricted every appointed officer to vote, and resign if they are willing to contest. This was the issue with the AGF Malami, who has been alleged to be their main target in the first place. Malami had refused to resign but has also been cleared to contest as a Governor.

The lawmakers later discovered that if statutory delegates were not used, there might be problems, so they amended the act to contain statutory delegates. Explained an insider, had it been they had amended President Buhari’s request, the lawmakers would not be having this issue to deal with. But at this point, even if they amended both laws, the sale of forms has closed, so President Buhari would have still ignored them.

As you read this, the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had already adopted the signed amended electoral act to conduct their ongoing primaries at all levels, so if the President should even decide to sign the document at this period, there will be chaos as the opposition will definitely raise a red flag.

A source at the National Assembly who spoke to City People about the development stated that” the lawmakers did not deliberate on the signed amended electoral act with an open mind because they felt, if the ministers should contest while they are in office, they may be accessible to the government resources.

So they were blinded by their desperation to cut the appointed politicians to size.”

“What they should have done perhaps, was to ask them to go on Leave of absence, it would have been an easier route for them.”

“And you know, Buhari, even if they resign and if they lose in the elections, Buhari can still call them back to continue from where they stopped, so why the unnecessary war that the lawmakers know they cannot win?”

There are however strong indications that some of the aggrieved aspirants, who have seen the handwriting on the wall have already launched negotiations with other parties, just in case the primaries did not favour them.

With what is available in the current Electoral Act, 3 delegates will vote per local government. As a consequence, Lagos will have only 60 delegates, against the 304 delegates if President Buhari had signed the newly amended electoral act. Oyo State will have 99 because of it has 33 Local governments, and Kaduna will have 132 delegates, and the elections can even be concluded in one day if no one is stepping down for one another.

This means the aspirants will have to run the “mobilization exercise”, after spending billions on naira across the states.

With this arrangement, it has been said that the Presidential Aspirant of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar will be the one to benefit from the existing electoral act, as the north will have more delegates than the south.

From the PDP primaries, it is believed that delegates from the North constitute 58 per cent of the entire number of delegates, while the South which includes South-South, South-East and South-West share 42 per cent. This means by simple majority, the north will get the ticket automatically.

Beyond the lamentations of the politicians, the hospitality business owners in Abuja are also lamenting that the newly amended electoral act will affect their business as they have made projections of accommodating thousands of party delegates. The Abuja boys who thought they will make Good money by booking rooms for delegates have been affected by the development.

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