With less than one year to the 2023 general elections, political parties are beginning to piece their preparations together.
In line with the Electoral Act 2022 the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has rolled out guidelines for the conduct of the process.
The commission has also directed all political parties to adhere strictly to the guidelines especially the smooth conduct of their primaries.
In compliance with INEC’s directive the two leading political parties; the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are gearing up for their make or mar primaries.
While 14 aspirants are striving to be the candidate of the PDP, the ruling APC has 23 aspirants.
The new Electoral Act allows politician parties to adopt one of direct, indirect and consensus modes of primaries.
Experts including INEC have advised parties to adopt the consensus model.
Tuduru Edeh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the introduction of ad-hoc delegates into the Electoral system is good for democracy.
“Direct primaries have been disastrous giving room for too many legal landmines.” He said.
However, the parties seem to be considering the indirect primary which allows delegates to vote at the primaries.
Section 84 (8) of the act states that “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”
What is a delegate election?
There are two types of delegates — the ad hoc and the statutory.
The ad hoc delegates are picked by holding congresses in the wards across the country while the statutory delegates — also known as automatic delegates — are those party members who have held public office before.
The delegates are powerful. They will decide the fate of the aspirants should the party fail to reach a consensus.
Except President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the Electoral Act 2022 Amendment Bill before him, only ad-hoc delegates will be participating at the forthcoming convention.
“By virtue of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022, delegates to vote at the Indirect Primaries and National Convention of political parties to elect candidates for elections shall be those democratically elected for that purpose only,” the PDP said in its guidelines.
Debo Ologunagba, the National publicity secretary of the PDP added that “Consequently those qualified and eligible to vote as delegates in the forthcoming Primaries and National Convention of our great Party, the PDP are the three (3) AD-HOC Delegates per ward, elected at the Ward Congresses and one (1) National Delegate per Local Government elected at the Local Government Area Congresses.”
Breakdown of APC, PDP delegates
APC has decided to use 2,340 Adhoc delegates for their national convention.
Director-General, Voice of Nigeria VON, Mr Osita Okechukwu, said three delegates will be elected from each of the nation’s 774 local government areas and six area councils of the FCT.
“We are going to elect five delegates per ward and there are 8,809 wards in the country. Those elected five delegates per ward would go to the state and elect the governor.
“We are going to elect three delegates from each of the 774 local governments, who will elect the president”, he explained.
According to the just-concluded congresses of the APC below is a Zonal breakdown of APC Adhoc delegates;
Lagos – 60
Ekiti – 48
Ogun – 60
Osun – 90
Oyo – 99
Ondo – 54
Total – 411
Akwa Ibom – 93
Bayelsa – 24
Cross River – 54
Delta – 75
Edo – 54
Rivers – 69
Total – 369
Abia – 54
Anambra – 63
Enugu – 51
Ebonyi – 39
Imo – 81
Total – 288
Adamawa – 63
Bauchi – 60
Gombe – 33
Borno – 81
Yobe – 51
Taraba – 48
Total – 336
Kogi – 63
Kwara – 48
Benue – 69
Plateau – 51
Nasarawa – 39
Niger – 75
FCT, Abuja – 18
Total – 363
Kaduna – 69
Kano – 132
Katsina – 102
Kebbi – 63
Jigawa – 81
Sokoto – 69
Zamfara – 42
Total – 558
Meanwhile, the main opposition party, PDP says only 810 Adhoc delegates will vote at the national convention of the party.