The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday explained why he pushed for direct primaries by political parties in the country.
He stressed that direct primaries would ensure accountability and adequate representation as political office holders would be compelled to work for the collective interest of party members, and by extension Nigerians.
The speaker, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, stated this when he hosted a delegation of Nigerian youths led by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who paid him a “thank you” visit over his role in the adoption of direct primaries by the National Assembly.
Gbajabiamila said many Nigerians, especially the youths, want to participate fully in the election of people that would represent them from the grassroots level, hence his resolve to champion the quest for direct primaries.
He declared his preference for a situation where the political space is opened for all, including the youths, to participate fully.
The National Assembly had in a conference committee report released recently approved direct primaries for all parties in the country.
The speaker said: “If I know that my return will depend on some few men, I may care about you. But if I know that my return will depend on my accountability and representation to the people, I will do the right thing.
“It is important for this generation to open the door of leadership to the next generation. We must allow every Nigerian to participate fully in the process of leadership. I, therefore, stand with Direct Primaries.
“That’s why I said at different fora that I’m for direct primaries. We have to do this for the sake of the institution.
“When you gather yourselves (as youths), chances are that you’ll win. Democracy is a government of the people. Democracy is not just a general election. It starts from the primaries.”
He, therefore, challenged the Nigerian youths to “take advantage of the amendment of the Electoral Act,” saying “power is not served a la carte.
Gfajabiamila added: “I’ll ask that you carry that advocacy out there because it’s for you.”
“The youths are the greatest asset of any nation, not just in Nigeria.”
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