The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has faulted claims that pressure from governors across the country was responsible for President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to turn down direct primaries and withhold assent on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.
He said that contrary to reports on social media and other platforms, direct and indirect primary mode for picking candidates for elective position do not matter to sitting governors, noting that every number one citizens of states were not affected by the mode.
Fayemi, who also doubled as Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) Chairman, said that he had been a product of both mode and that from his experience, direct and indirect primaries do not matter to governors and may not necessarily affect their chances at the poll.
The governor who made the clarification while briefing State House correspondents on Tuesday after a meeting with Buhari, explained that the president’s decision to return the bill back to National Assembly without his assent was not due to pressure from governors.
According to him, governors are not afraid of direct primary and I have benefited from direct primary, just like the president so I don’t know what you mean by governor’s being happy because President Buhari did not sign the bill into law.
“At least as the governor who has gone through a series of elections, my election to the office during my first term was via a direct primary that took place in all the 177 wards in my state. And my election to my second term in office was via an indirect primary.
“So, I’ve tasted both and I can tell you that it really doesn’t matter to any governor whether you have primaries via direct mode or an indirect mode. Mr. President has not objected to direct primaries, neither has he endorsed indirect primaries.
“He has only said, be fair to all, let all options apply and what you decide should be determined by your own local and peculiar circumstances, being mindful of questions of security, finances, and internal democracy.
“So, I think we all should commend the courage of Mr. President to stand with the people. And the President, you know, just like me, is not afraid of whatever mode you decide to use.
“When I chaired the primaries, the historic primaries that brought him in as a presidential candidate, I was the chair of that primaries in 2014, it was an indirect primary.
“But in 2019, when he was coming back, he came back via a direct primary. So, Mr. President has also tasted both. And I don’t think he’s somebody to be lectured about the pros and cons of either process.”