Senator Saraki: Controversy on direct primaries should not scuttle passage of Electoral Bill

[File] Nigeria's Senate leader, Bukola Saraki, announces that he would stand to become the main opposition candidate in 2019's presidential elections in Abuja, Nigeria, August 30, 2018. REUTERS-Afolabi Sotunde

Former Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said that the debate on the propriety or otherwise generated by the passage of direct primary for political parties by the National Assembly must not be allowed to scuttle the electoral bill.

Saraki spoke with journalists in Ilorin on Sunday at the sideline of the 9th memorial prayer for his late father, Dr Olusola Saraki held at the family’s Ilofa road residence, GRA, Ilorin.

According to him, the important thing is for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the assent to the electoral bill for Nigerians to benefit from its other parts.

“Direct Primaries is best for political parties if properly done. But I am sure Nigerians are not prepared for it because there is still a lot of work to be done.

“But now the National Assembly has passed it, we should make the best out of the situation rather than allowing the controversy one item to throw away the other good parts of the bill.

“What is important, is for the President to assent to it and enable Nigerians to benefit from the other parts.

On the performance of the PDP at the recent election in Anambra where the party came second, Saraki noted the exercise was a success for Nigeria and democracy.

“The Anambra election was a success story for Nigeria because many of us were sceptical that it would not hold.

“But it not only held, it was peaceful and credible and we commend INEC for bringing in technology which we have advocated to improve our electoral process.

“Yes, there are still some works that needed to do, no doubt, but we can improve on that for the next election to be better. People can now say we are having elections that are closer to best practices. That election was a good day for democracy and Nigeria and we thank the security agencies also”, he added.

Saraki said the PDP has demonstrated the capacity and leadership qualities to deliver the country with the way its leaders reconciled themselves to hold the National Convention.

He further noted that what is important now is Nigeria and not the personal ambition of anybody.

He said, “The party that cannot manage itself cannot rule the country”.

The immediate past Senate President described his late father as a selfless leader which Nigerians should adopt today in the light of the country’s sorry situation.

Other top dignitaries that also graced the event were the Minister for Transportation, State, Gbemisola Saraki, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, former PDP National Secretary; former Acting National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, former Minister of Transportation, Bio Ibrahim, former Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad and the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Kamaldeen Ajibade (SAN) among others.

The prayer which commenced by 8:00 am was led by the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Shiekh Muhammad Bashir Soliu.

The Senior Cleric was supported by the Grand Mukadam of Ilorin, Sheikh Sulaiman Dan-Borno, Sheikh Saanu Sheu, and Imam AbdulRazaq Aduagba.

Dan Borno in his sermon described late Saraki as a star who benefitted everybody that those in government today holds their political rise to him.

He called on the children and beneficiaries of late Saraki’s legacies not to allow his footprints to die in vain.

He further called on all those who cherished his legacies to spread the good works of the late politician.

For his part, Aduagba advised Saraki to continue to serve the people with his resources and positions as exemplified by his late father.

He said Saraki should not abandon his followers adding that the people have since returned to him having realised their mistake.

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