The Peoples Democratic Party has revealed plans to adopt a more transparent process of choosing its candidates in the 2019 general elections.
Towards this end, the party said it would adopt the option A4 method to pick candidates for the Presidential, governorship and other elections.
Option A4, which was used during the regime of a former military dictator, Gen Ibrahim Babangida (retd.), is a process which allows voters queue behind candidates of their choice.
Voters on each queue are counted to the hearing of everyone present before voting starts.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said this in Abuja, on Friday, while receiving in audience a former National Chairman of New Patriotic Party, Ghana, Mr. Peter Manu. According to him, the new process is necessary in order to allow members take ownership of the leadership selection process.
He said the era when the party would organise a national convention to elect its presidential candidate was over.
Metuh said this option would be adopted by his party, as such there would be no secret voting during the primaries.
He, however said in order to have this done, the party would have to amend its constitution.
Metuh said already, a proposal to amend the party’s constitution to achieve this had been prepared and would be tabled at the next national convention which comes up on May 21. Apart from this, state chapters of the party had been served copies of the proposed amendment for their input noting that the proposal would first be tabled before the National Executive Committee before the convention.
Metuh said, “We intend to elect our presidential candidate starting from Ward level. We are going to apply Option A4 in electing our presidential candidate.
“It is not going to be restricted to presidential primaries alone, but others like governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and all, everybody would be elected from the ward level.
“People would have to queue behind the candidates of their choice. This proposed amendment had been sent to the state chapters of our party for their inputs in line with our desire to have people’s opinion.
“We are going to change our system so that our presidential candidate would be voted by all our party members in the country.
“It would be done at the ward level, we would no longer elect presidential candidate at the national convention. It would now be for every party member to vote for whoever would be our presidential candidate.
“Whoever would vie for our presidential ticket would have to tour the entire country before he can be elected. This is part of the reform we are coming up with. Basically, this would be the last convention where we would have people to be elected at the national convention. We are taking the party back to the Nigerian people.”
He said the party didn’t prepare for opposition which it suddenly found itself in 2015 after being in power for 16 years.
Metuh said the loss of power made some members of the party to defect to the APC, citing different reasons.
He said, “This is the first time we are witnessing the change of guards and we have a lot of our people defecting to the ruling party. In Ghana, you people are much more stable in terms of party politics.”
Earlier, Manu told Metuh how his party reviewed events that made it lose the election in Ghana. This, he said, made it possible for it to make reforms.
He said he was sad that the then opposition party in his country was referring to his party as being corrupt due to the way it conducted its primaries.
Manu said this was the reason why he led the reforms that changed the fortune of the party.
He said, “When we lost election, there was need to review and make amends and these amends led to some critical reforms in the party structure and organisation.
“We realised for example, that the modus operandi of how our presidential candidate was elected had a hand in why we lost the general election. There are as many as 17 presidential candidates.
“When the then president, John Kufor was given the party ticket at that time, about 17 presidential candidates were running for votes from a mere 3,500 delegates.
“So, it was money, money, money until the day of congress. And we realised that the opposition party, which is now in government, used that against us and cast smell on us as being corrupt, that we were throwing money at the people.”