With the non-assent to the amendment of Section 84 (8) of the Electoral Act by President Muhammadu Buhari, governors now have a tough nut to crack in their quest to produce their successors and deliver their states to their preferred presidential aspirants.
According to Vanguard, some governors are lamenting their imminent absence at the primaries unlike in the past. There are also fears that the governors may lose their hold on states’ delegates, especially during the presidential primaries.
Currently, presidential aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are devising fresh strategies to woo the few delegates that will elect the standard-bearers.
Non-assent to the crucial amendment transmitted by the National Assembly to President Buhari on May 13 has many implications.
It means that elected officials, such as the president, governors, lawmakers, local council chairmen, ministers and other high-ranking political top-shots who used to be super delegates at party conventions in the past will not be part of the delegates now.
It also means that only ad-hoc delegates elected for the purpose at the congresses of the parties in the various states will elect the presidential candidates.
The absence of statutory or super-delegates means that only 810 delegates would be at the PDP presidential primaries, while the APC primaries would have 2,340 delegates.
Speaking on the absence of governors at the primaries, Akwa Ibom State Governor and PDP presidential aspirant, Udom Emmanuel, told reporters after the PDP State House of Assembly and House of Representatives’ primary on Sunday, that the development was never contemplated.
He said, “Today (Sunday) I decided to obey the rules of the Electoral Act that disqualify me from being a delegate. That is why I couldn’t go near the venue of the event. That is number one.
“Number two, I am made to understand in this life that anything that comes our way we see is an Act of God. What is happening today is that the party has to use only ad-hoc delegates, nobody can explain. Right from the day the Act was signed up till today nobody detected it, it was detected so late. We can’t blame anybody.
“We can only see it as an act of God and that it is how it is meant to be. I keep telling people no two elections are the same. So this is how God wants it this year. So let’s leave it that way.
“If God is doing a new thing in Nigeria I pray that new thing will dovetail to a new order, a new system for 2023 when we will have a new set of leaders, a president who will not be up to 60 years, and who will have the energy to take care of Nigeria, and that person will be Udom Emmanuel.”