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Why National Assembly Is Pushing For Direct Primary

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Oluwafemi Fadairo is Director of Administration in the Office of Senate President Ahmed Lawan.

In this interview, he speaks on the amended Electoral Act, youth participation in politics and the chances of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in future polls.

Excerpts:

Since your appointment as a Director of administration to the Senate President, what development have you brought to your community?

They are numerous and if I begin to count them from now till the evening time I would still be counting but I will mention a few. I have been able to facilitate three 500 KVA transformers to three communities in Akure. I have been able to impact lives of our artisans. Not only that, I have graded township roads, seven in Akure North and ten in Akure South local government where I hail from. Also I have been able to give out vulcanizing machines; I have been able to impact lives of our women giving them loans without interest. I have given millions of Naira to Ishinigbo women in Akure North, APC women in politics, I gave them loan instead of borrowing from micro finance banks with high interest rate, I said no if you are following me you must have something to fall back on.

Are you doing these because you have interest in elective position?

Absolutely No I have been doing these things since 2017 even when I was Special Assistant on Special Duty to Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice. I have given out free jamb forms to seven hundred and twenty student in Akure north and south, it is on record and my passion to give back to the society that produced me was what necessitated me to give back to the society it is not about someone contesting or about today, since 2017 this is 2021 I have been able to impact lives since that time.

What is your understanding about youth involvement in politics?

My concept is that we need to liberate ourselves as youths and stop all these social vices youths normally commit themselves into. When you talk of fraud, thuggery and robbery, you see youths there. As a youth I want to tell my fellow youths that you can make impact in life without you involving yourself in crime. I stared as a youth leader of a party as a graduate but I did not allow that to define me despite the fact that my party chairman was an illiterate. I kept on moving because I know what I want for myself as a youth. Without involving ourselves in political calculations as youth, Nigeria is in big trouble. So, I volunteered myself, I made myself a case study that youths can do better, we are not saying the elders should be pushed out of the corridor of power, but they should give us chance. We should learn good lessons from the elders. Although, there are some elders, who do not have anything to offer, like what I have been able to do in the two communities where I hail from. My take is that youths should involve themselves more in politics and change the narratives politically in our dear country and in our dear state and in our respective local governments.

 

We have youth who were given opportunities to serve in political offices and have disappointed the electorate, what is your take on this set of youth?

You cannot use one person to generalise one thousand youths, you cannot use one scenario to generalise us. Among Jesus disciples, we had one betrayed and we had one that identified Jesus Christ to the enemies. We cannot say that all youths are the same; we have some among us that will involve themselves in social vices. Similarly, not all of the elders are good; some of them are bad as devil himself. I want to make myself exemplary youth for my fellow youth to emulate. This is what gingered me to say Nigeria must grow economically and youths must be actively involved in politics

Do you think APC stand a chance to win election in Nigeria especially in Ondo State considering the level of insecurity ravaging the country?

We will only get it right if we choose the right candidate for our dear party to run our election and thank God the National Assembly is doing a great job in that direction by passing the Electoral Act that stipulates that all political parties in Nigeria should adopt direct primaries as the yardstick of picking candidates for any general election. With that, my party has a chance of winning any election because these days election is about interest. It is the people that would vote. Until the right candidate is elected, we will continue to have imposition of candidates and this will lead to implosion of the political parties. It is to prevent this that the National Assembly under the leadership of Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker passed the amended electoral act that makes direct primary compulsory for political parties. The APC is a lover of direct primary. It is only the PDP members that are against it because they know how to bribe themselves into power. In our party, majority will surely have their way while the minority will have their say.

There is a vacant seat in Akure South and North federal constituency sequel to the demise of Hon Adedayo Omolafe, what do envisage will happen in the forthcoming bye-election?

I envisage victory for our dear party, APC and that is why people like me are actively involved in the struggle to salvage Akure North and South federal constituency, change the narratives, take Akure north and south constituency to a greater height if our party by Gods grace gives me the ticket to run under the platform of APC we will surely defeat any opposition that comes our way during the election because we have the fan base, we have the support base and we have done creditably well in our community, not only to the religious rulers, the paramount ruler of Akure kingdom, the chiefs, but to the youths, and market women. I have a glorious chance of winning the coming primary election under the APC platform by Gods grace.

If you look at the Ondo Central senatorial district, the PDP dominates it. The Senator of the district and the late House of Representatives member is from the PDP. Do you think APC stands any chance in this election?

I have said it earlier that it is only if APC picks the right candidate and that right candidate is me. I have the majority. In the last election quote me we had APC members that voted for Omolafe Expensive and Senator Akinyelure, politics of about appealing to people’s consciousness. People will vote for someone they know can deliver for them, it is not about political party affiliation, it is about the person that the party puts forward to represent them in general election. People will go all out to vote; that you are in PDP does not matter at all. It is about the interest the people have in the candidate put forward by our party; that has been our gospel, that we should get it right for us to hijack the central from the PDP by filling the right candidate.

With the passage of the amended Electoral Act by the National Assembly, do you see President Muhammadu Buhari signing the law?

Definitely, because the president himself is an advocate of direct primaries, if you could recollect the primary that brought President Muhamadu Buhari for second term in our dear party is a direct primary. To elect our president for the second time, we put Buhari as our president through direct primary under APC. It is only PDP that is afraid of direct primary. If you could recollect in 1993 when MKO Abiola emerged as SDP candidate it was through direct primaries, in their general election people were counted, and that election was adjudged as the best, free, fair ever election. This present National Assembly wants to give back power to elect through the primaries, down to general election, back to the people because if you are representing your people you must emerge from the unit, you must emerge from the street. Let the polling units produce you; with that we will be having the right people to lead us aright in our country.

I asked this question because the amended Electoral Act passed by the National Assembly under the leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki was not signed by President Buhari, what gives you the impression that he will sign this one?

I have 100 percent assurance that President Buhari our president will sign it. Dr Bukola Saraki was not a loyal Senate President. A lot of bills that this present administration and present National Assembly passed to law are making our government to move forward. We have a lot of schemes in Nigeria today, if Senate did not pass it, there is no way Buhari can actualize his goals, vision and mission for our country. But under Bukola Saraki things were stagnant because Bukola Saraki saw himself as a defacto president. Both chambers have passed the amended bill and I can assure you, in the coming weeks you will see the leadership of both chambers going to the President presenting the bill and the thing will be signed; mind you it is what we do today that will give us the hope of 2023 election, how it is going to be in our dear country and there is no need to delay, I am very 100 percent sure that Mr President will sign that bill because he is an advocate of direct primary and giving power back to the people. He has said it repeatedly that let people choose who they want to rule them, let people choose their representatives, let people choose their leaders instead of imposition here and there that is causing a lot of havoc among our political parties.

What do you think was in the mind of the National Assembly when they were working on this amended Electoral Act?

It is to give back power to our people, let people have it and let them have their way, let people choose, you don’t impose on them. If they want you, they will vote for you. The National Assembly wants the people to choose leaders for themselves. It is that time for our country will go higher.

Initially, the National Assembly was not comfortable with the passage Electoral Act that allows transfer of result through electronic method, what transpired before the new change of mind?

They all agreed to the transfer of result electronically. It was only the PDP members that were saying APC was afraid to allow electronic transmission of result, they all agreed that electronically they should transfer result to the appropriate collation centers. But the clause that brought the argument was in the area where it said where is practicable. Not all our communities are widely covered with all the networks we have in Nigeria. People from some remote area in some local government have no network coverage, some senators said network is not even in their place and that how can INEC transfer election result from where there is no coverage to coalition center? They need answers from INEC and INEC has done its work together with the Nation Communication Commission. They have convinced them and that was what brought about the agreement about the electronic transmission of results. The National Assembly wants something that will make life meaningful for our citizens and that is one of the reasons they agreed for direct primaries and electronic transfer of result from one place to another so that this will reduce people influencing INEC officials to rig election for them, it is the vote of electorate that will be transferred immediately. So, there is no need for you to give INEC official millions of Naira to upturn the will of the masses. The assembly has done a very creditable and wonderful job to give power back to the people.

Do you have comment on other national issues?

I will start by saying that in the United States of America there was retrenchment of workers during COVID 19 pandemic and I cannot see any state in Nigeria or the federal government retrenching any workers in this country. God has been so faithful to this country; yes we may have some difficulties in our economy, which is global, the economic meltdown is globally, all nations in the world not only in Nigeria have economic challenges.

In the security aspect, the government is trying to curb the menace of these terrorists Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers. it is a global challenge so it not limited to Nigeria alone, it’s a global thing but we thank God that against all odds we are still surviving, yes we might not have reached fifty percent in my own view. The President is trying to curb insecurity; you can quote me anywhere, the present administration under the leadership of President Buhari has the largest scheme that affects lives of our farmers and masses through survival funds. With all these schemes, Nigeria will get to the promise land. I can assure you that we will be better under the leadership of Buhari, yes we might have some blemishes but not withstanding we will survive it.

Source

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