Former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Pally Iriase has advised that adopting direct primary in choosing the All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer in the Edo state governorship election is safer and meets the COVID-19 health advisory, and protocols.
Iriase said the APC must the temptation of adopting indirect primary option to guard against a spike in the number of coronavirus infection in the state that can potentially occur when delegates mass together in large gatherings.
He averred that most agitators for indirect primary in Edo state have ironically, based their arguments on the need to ensure that the exercise does not lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state.
According to him, the processes involved in indirect primary as contained in the APC constitution, is an indication that the indirect method must be avoided to safeguard the health of people during the pandemic.
The former secretary to the state government stated that Article 20(iv)(a) provides that indirect primaries shall be held at a designated venue by an electoral college of delegates, democratically elected by party members at various ward congresses.
He added that contrary to the erroneous impression being bandied around, there are no permanent elected delegates under the party’s constitution, but “we have statutory delegates as defined under Article 20(iv)(c) that shall join the elected delegates to constitute the electoral college for indirect primaries.
“After the direct election of delegates, all members of the electoral college, that is elected delegates plus statutory delegates, will move to the designated venue for the indirect orimaries.
“It is therefore, clear that we would have to do direct election of delegates first in order to even do a proper indirect primaries. I submit that you can not circumvent this process in Edo state as at now without dire consequences.
“The atmosphere is charged and anything outside the provisions of the party’s constitution will not work. You cannot use the badly factionalised party executive as surrogates in place of elected delegates because there is no constitutional backing for that at all.
“On the contrary, direct primaries requires that all party members in each ward, who would have voted for delegates, will turn-out in their units within their wards, observe social-distancing, wearing face-masks and vote for the aspirant of their choice, and the healthy exercise will be over in minutes.
“It is clear that without ulterior motive, direct primaries is better than indirect orimaries which requires two tedious stages with huge, but avoidable health challenges.”