• Friday, July 19, 2024
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How indirect primaries has contributed to Nigeria’s woes – Daramola

How indirect primaries has contributed to Nigeria’s woes – Daramola

Tunde Daramola is a registered pharmacist and the Executive Chairman Ruxton and Staples Pharmaceuticals Ltd. He was a former Lagos State Secretary and National Ex-Officio People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He was the Lagos State chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) during the 2019 general election. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he accesses the state of the nation and proffers solutions on what needs to be done to move the country forward. Excerpts:

What is your take on the recent amendment of the Electoral Act to accommodate direct primaries by the National Assembly?

If you want to contest in the primary election and if you are a good material why are you afraid of the direct primaries? The people who are to vote in the primaries are supposed to be party members and they know you well. I strongly believe it is a good thing to allow party members to participate in the choice of who is going to represent them at any level.

The indirect primaries have gracefully abused the delegate system; the process has been skewed to favour people in power because they control their executive and also the legislative arms who are often delegates in the primaries. But the truth of the matter is that all hands must be on deck, if they are of the same party, there should not be any delegate, every card-carrying member should be allowed in the decision making of who represents them. With the delegate system, people are often bribed, but with this, how many people are you going to bribe in the party? It is an opportunity for the right person to emerge.

But governors of the ruling party are said to be against it. Are you surprised by the opposition?

I am not surprised because the indirect primaries have always been to the advantage of the executive arm. They control their legislature, those Houses of Assembly are almost like rubber stamps and the lawmakers are automatic delegates, that they are called special delegates; there is nothing special about them.

Once you are a card-carrying member you should be loyal; the party should be supreme, but now it is the governors that are supreme.

You can see what happened in the last election in the US, with all the apparatus of the Republicans they controlled the Senate and House of Representatives, yet they lost the election. That is the restructuring people are talking about. Give the people a sense of belonging; people are not interested in voting any longer because they say their vote doesn’t count.

With direct primaries, we can count the number of people who vote. It does not have to be what they want, but allow members to vote at their wards so that they can believe and have trust in the process. For now, the process is a sham.

What is your take on the zoning of the presidency in 2023?

The truth is I am not an advocate of zoning; I want what I would call a leader; I do not want a ruler. We have been clamouring for zoning; it has been producing non-starters; leaders who have nothing to offer, that is why we are here today. I want leaders who have the vision and who know how to make the country work. We have had retrogressive leaders who just sit and go to meetings and share the budget; that is not governance.

If power devolves to various regional governments, what would be left to the central government would be only defence and foreign affairs. Every other aspect like, education, health would go to each state to handle and nobody would talk about zoning anymore. You cannot take or control my resources, you tax me; there are a lot of resources that each geographical location can benefit and live on and there would be active competition among local government and states.

So, you can have collaboration between the state and LG to build road bridges and others. But here in Nigeria, a country so rich, we cannot buy vaccines, we are going to the USA, Britain and the UN to beg for vaccines. That shows the level of commitment for its citizens. This government doesn’t care.

It is sad the way things are done presently, that is why I said it does not matter where the President comes from, you make the system work for everybody no matter where you come from.

Nigeria is a failed state and you can see the indications everywhere. Until now, millions have not been vaccinated and they are shouting that the UN put them on the red list. Make the system work for everybody that you don’t need a godfather to survive. Don’t talk to me about zoning or what essence is it? Zoning is a lackadaisical approach to leadership. That is why I support the direct primaries; let’s see the real people rather than this setup, which is taking us back.

Are you satisfied with the performance of INEC so far?

Which confidence are you talking about? An INEC that supervised the Anambra gubernatorial primaries that produced a gubernatorial candidate in APC that scored a wide margin in the primary election to defeat other aspirants and could only score about 15 percent of those figures in the main election; don’t you see there is a problem in that.

But I support the attempt to use E-voting to transmit election results, but let us see what would happen. Mahmood should be allowed to operate independently; let the government take their hands off the political process. What I mean is that, let INEC be truly independent.

Are you still in PDP?

Yes, I only took a sabbatical to see if we can create a third force in ADC which I came to realise that they are a party of jokers; I mean nonstarter.

Read also: Only PDP can save Nigeria from current socio-economic problem – Obaseki

But some Nigerians are of the view that the PDP has failed to play the role of opposition effectively?

I don’t know what people expect; you have a government now that is so myopic. Do they care about Nigeria? It is just about themselves. This government is the worst the country ever had. All the promises of restructuring the country, providing a good health care system, repairing the refineries they have denied them.

Now they are talking about scrapping the subsidy which Goodluck Jonathan was criticised for; in fact, everything has gone from fry pan to fire.

What are your expectations from the Iyorchia Ayu-led new PDP NWC?

He is a respected leader, I expect him to put the party together with the view to getting power from the inept APC. I hope PDP now would take the restructuring agenda seriously because without that the country can never be one. Even though there is a threat, at the same time it is not compulsory that we have to be together.

We are seeing some Nigerians coming out to declare their intentions to contest the presidency in 2023 so far. What are your expectations?

Let them declare their interest; let the people choose who they want; let the people’s vote count. Unfortunately, there are some good people in the country, but they don’t have money to contest for election and be in a leadership position.

What is your take on Tinubu’s presidential bid?

I have nothing to say about Tinubu’s presidential ambition, but my worry is we are moving from an invalid to someone that is also challenged physically. I mean going to someone who is also challenged physically, he is not going to be different. Perhaps, age has nothing to do with leadership, perhaps ability and agility are important.

Are we so cursed that we should be looking at someone we are going to use the state resources to maintain again? Let him bring his son instead, if he does not have let him bring his surrogate.

Atiku is also rumoured to be interested in contesting for the presidency in 2023; would you rather support him?

I like Atiku; I do believe he would have been a better choice than Buhari, far better in terms of exposure; in terms of non-tribalistic approach to issues. He is a destabilised Nigerian. Let us wait till 2023, but in terms of looking healthy, he is in sound health than those two people you are talking about. And for serious leadership, you need somebody with an excellent medical condition.

What is your take on the worsening spate of insecurity in Nigeria?

They have lost it, the police could not do anything and you brought in the military. Even the military barrack is not safe; they went there to kidnap people. Right now, there is chaos, they break in and kidnap people, so our security is with God.

What is the way forward?

President Buhari should resign and allow the vice president to take charge. Yemi Osinbajo is a vibrant young man.

From your own point of view, what do you think about 2023, especially as it concerns the ruling party?

I foresee an implosion in the APC which is gradually eating in within the party. APC is bound to implode. I don’t care who they give power to; restructure the country and allow resource control. Let there be healthy competition among states and local governments; let them develop at their own pace.