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…….Urges APC to adopt Direct primary.
By: Ade Adeleke
A former Secretary to the Ondo state government (SSG) and governorship Aspirant on the platform of the ruling APC, Barr. Isaacs Kekemeke, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review the date for the conduct of party primaries ahead of the October 10 Ondo State governorship election.
Both the APC and the PDP had slated their primaries in ondo state for July 20 and July 22 respectively.
However speaking with journalists in Akure, the state capital, Kekemeke who is popularly known as ‘Leke-Leke’ said the commission should look into the election timetable in view of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
The electoral body had on Monday said it would go on with its earlier schedule released for the conduct of governorship election in the state.
Kekemeke, who is also a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, advised that INEC was right on its decision to conduct the elections as scheduled going by the electoral act and the Nigerian 1999 constitution (as amended).
The APC Aspirant, however urged INEC to be flexible to enable politicians cover lost grounds due to lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19, also advised the APC to adopt direct primary system for the state election.
The Pioneer Chairman of NECO and former Commissioner for Works noted that INEC still had a window of one month between October 10 and November 23 to conduct the ondo state governorship elections as the date of inauguration of a new government is February 24, 2021.
On the alleged directive on online campaigns, Kekemeke cautioned INEC not to engage in acts capable of disenfranchising Ondo state people.
According to the former State Assembly Minority Leader, “In the case of Ondo, INEC still has a window of one month between October 10 and November 23 to cover for lost grounds. It can add one month extension to cover for what it lost to enable parties prepare adequately for these elections. This is in order for us to have an effective democracy.
“We must not hinder or hamper effective participation of the people. The people is an important factor. There must be adequate time to mobilise them, there must be adequate time to sensitise them, there must be adequate time for parties to finish with their internal preparations and for them to move around. If two months have been lost and we still have a window of one month why don’t we add it to make us to what we want to do
“When I heard the speculations about online campaign I laughed because I asked the question, what is the literacy percentage of Nigerians? How many people are online? They must not do anything that will disenfranchise the people.
“I think they need to work with the Presidential Task Force of the federal government to work out more practicable modalities of engaging the people while obeying the protocols that demand for social distances and reduces crowd and encourage the wearing of face mask.
“In Ondo what majority of stakeholders want is direct primaries. The reason is because there has been controversies on the emergence of party officials and the way and manner party officials emerge.
“There has not been a cohesive party leadership that is inclusive. We need to mobilise our party members again by their participation in the aspirant selection process. We need to carry along very many interest groups in the party. We need a direct primaries,” Kekemeke concluded.