The national legal adviser of All Progressives Party (APC) Barrister Muiz Banire speaks on the issue conducting primaries to achieve a common candidate for the party on any election.
According to our source Banire said ‘The constitution of Nigeria, I think in Section 7, says that all local governments in Nigeria must have democratically elected officials. This means that anyone that occupies such an office without election is doing so illegally. If you look at the trend now, even in APC states, sole administrators are being appointed to head local governments.
Election was recently held into the local governments in Adamawa State, and probably in Sokoto State.
We are encouraging governors of APC states to conduct elections into the local governments. We must be a party and government of the rule of law.
If the constitution states that local councils must be run by democratically elected leaders, you must abide by it, he said.
Number two is on primary for elections in the local governments. For instance, in Lagos State here, they say there would not be primaries before nominations at the local councils. Article 20 (II and III) of the constitution of the APC make it compulsory for primaries to be held even for the positions of councillors. If you fail to do that, it would be a violation of the APC Constitution. Anybody that is aggrieved with the outcome of the primary elections can go to court to challenge the outcome. Once you petition the national body of the party and they fail to come to your aid, you can go to court.
There is a provision that enables you to go to court on the constitution. I am even planning to convene a meeting of all the legal advisers of the APC across the states to tell them to start advising their people on the dictates of our constitution. It is also part of our constitution that to be a member of the party, you must have subscribed to the internal democracy of the party. In Article 21. It is an offense for you to sideline internal democracy in the party. It is unconstitutional under the platform of the APC to impose candidates on the party without conducting primaries. It is part of the basis of being a member of the APC. If you don’t believe in it, you cannot be our member.
‘ The constitution is explicit on this. We need to be cautious, when we are handling things in the party. I know how many seats we lost in the states houses of assembly, senate and the House of Representatives in the last election due to lack of internal democracy. I always advise them that we should democratise local government elections because someone can rise up one day to challenge all those that have ruled the councils that were not democratically elected and it would be a doom for all of them. What is wrong in doing primary elections, and I am glad that a lot of APC states are already taking that position. I have personally written a legal opinion on this at the national level, and I believe that all our states would conduct local government elections before the end of the year’.