Kolade Akinjo: Money Given To Delegates At Party Primaries, An Appetiser

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and member representing the Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency in Ondo State in the House of Representatives, Kolade Akinjo, tells LEKE BAIYEWU how and why aspirants pay delegates to secure votes at political parties’ primaries

How do you feel about the failure of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to assent to the amended Clause 84(


 of the Electoral Act, 2022 to recognise statutory delegates in the primaries conducted by political parties to choose their candidates for the 2023 general elections?

In any case, the entire document – the entire bill – left us here (National Assembly) and the President even signed the bill to become an Act. Of course, it could not have been the fault of Mr President; it is our (lawmakers’) fault. Laws sometimes need to be explicit. There are different cannons of interpretations in law and literal meaning is quite easy – the way the law is, that is how you interpret it. Under Section 84(


, we did not do enough as lawmakers. We needed to have explained those that were supposed to categorically be the delegates and there is nothing wrong in listing them out as it ought to have been. We cannot allow people to input in the law, which was not the original meaning. So, the fault is ours. Trying to weave the issue around the President is just not right. But again, since we made a mistake and came back to reflect on that mistake and correct it where necessary, then we also did what we were supposed to do. It is incumbent on the President to look at the general picture in the interest of our democracy to do the needful. And this naturally should not be a big deal.

Do you think having statutory delegates at the primaries would have made a difference at the shadow elections?

Of course! It is just like somebody who is reading with a particular syllabus for a particular examination. You have done well and exhausted the syllabus, but a few days into the examination, the syllabus was changed. There is no doubt that it will become the survival of the fittest. So, there is no way that would not have affected (the primaries), because people were working on the statutory as well as the ad hoc delegates but all of a sudden, it changed to only ad hoc delegates based on the (current) provision of Section 84(



It would have naturally rocked the entire roots and re-election of many members, senators and governors. If care is not taken, the entire ad hoc (delegates) are just a handbag of the leader (of a party) in a particular state. And if he does not like your face, then you are gone. If the governor is the leader of the state, he will just handpick (the delegates). The chairman of the party and the governor, they work together and they will just list whoever they want. In many cases, there was nothing like the election of those ad hoc delegates. They were usually from consensus or powered by the chairman and leaders of a party in a state.

With the recent primaries, do you believe that the governors hijacked the process?

There is no way you can (avoid that). In many of the states, it is usually who they want.

Kolade Akinjo: Money Given To Delegates At Party Primaries, An Appetiser – Politics – Nigeria (nairaland.com)

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