A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State, Tunji Ariyomo, has called on the Nigerian government to move the country towards adopting direct primaries as a way of selecting popular candidates for elections.
He said the shift from the delegates system which began early in the 20th century and had since been jettisoned by developed democracies, will check corruption and money politics.
According to Mr. Ariyomo, if the government is serious about curbing corruption, it must work to ensure that money bags don’t determine who become candidates of political parties for election and who eventually becomes elected at the end of the process.
“That is one thing Mr. President will have to help us with, let us have in place the opportunity to have direct primaries across board.,” said Mr. Ariyomo, a chartered engineer and an ICT advocate.
“If that happens, the leadership turn over will increase, because it means you have to be in the good books of your people before you will be able to win even at primary level.
“That means you have now empowered the masses with the power to sanction and the power to reward. If we have such a system in place, it will in fact reduce violence. That means you can’t programme anybody again, because the person you programme may not even win the primary.
“That means you will have to search for credible people. There are godfathers in the US, but the godfathers go to the schools to groom people. They will now be forced to get quality and credible people.
“Under the direct primary system, you don’t have to be part of the system to thrive, you only have to be good, to be credible and for the masses to know.”
According to the former Special Adviser to Governor Olusegun Agagu on ICT, the current delegates system promotes individualism, islands of powers, which violates chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution which states that the resources of the state must not be utilized in such a way as to concentrate power in the hands of a few.
Mr. Ariyomo argued that the excessive use of money to buy delegates’ votes is encouraged by the system in operation.
“In Nigeria, we operate a delegates system of election. It is the best we operate here. The alternative is even worse, that is the one they call consensus,” he said.
“In the US they practically abolished the system and embraced the open primary system where everyone, who is a member of the political party would be involved in the selection processes. What that has done for them is that it has enabled them to throw up candidates loved by the people. Candidates admired by the people. “
Citing the examples of the emergence of President Barak Obama in 2008 and the recent nomination of Donald Trump by the Republicans, Mr. Ariyomo noted that these personalities could not have emerged if the system were not open.
On the survival of the APC in the state after the August 27 primary, Mr. Ariyomo assured that the party would come out stronger provided the election was free, fair and credible.
“I have spoken with a number of our leaders. I have received the assurance that the election will be free, fair, credible and transparent. If that happens, there can never be disunity in an atmosphere of justice,” he said.
“Somebody must emerge the winner. Anybody that emerges through credible means, you cannot see reasonable people fighting against such a system.
“People disagree and feel bad only when they feel cheated, when there seems to be lack of fairness and when they query the credibility of processes.
“So my personal forecast is that all the aspirants will unanimously unite behind whoever emerges winner from a credible system. I see us coming out of this stronger in the overall interest of the people.”
The former head of the Ondo State Information Technology Development Centre(SITDEC), said he joined the race to become governor in order to ensure Ondo State realises its dream of faster economic and technological development.
He said his wealth of experience in helping the Ondo State deploy ICT in most government agencies and ensuring automated systems in the management of state resources made him stand higher than his competitors in the quest for the ticket.
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