What is a direct primary election? This seems like a topic of a very narrow sphere, the one which not every person can understand.
First, we have to understand what a primary election is. A primary election, in short, is a mini form of election during which the chosen political party chooses its candidate, which in the future will be contesting for public office under its platform.
Types of primary elections
There are two types of primary elections: direct and indirect. What is the difference and which one is better? During the indirect primary election, the members f the party choose a few delegates who elect the candidates (representatives) of their party on their behalf. The delegates are a democratically elected group of voters, who were chosen at party congresses. In its turn, a congress is a formal meeting between the political party members. On this meeting, registered members of a political party choose the delegates who will represent them at local, state and national congress levels. During the direct primary election, registered party members only vote for the one who will “serve” as the flag-bearer of their party. The difference between indirect and direct primary election is that during the direct primaries, there are no delegates involved. The members of the party choose the representatives through polls just like in any other general election.
Most of the political parties in Nigeria opt for indirect primaries. But this fact is being criticized a lot because everyone sees it as an easy way to be manipulated by party leaders and delegates. The direct primary election is getting criticism as well, this type of primaries is criticized for costing too much.
Direct primary elections in Nigeria
The direct primaries were chosen as the main type of elections during presidential and party’s candidates elections. The president of Nigeria did not vote against this system, he even follows this idea, because that will give an opportunity of participating in the process of determining who their presidential standard-bearer would be.
Also, direct primaries can essentially explicate the archetypical democratic mode. Nowadays, all the countries usually try to follow the democratic model. It is very important to let the citizens choose their political “destiny”. Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy sounds like “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”. It means that whatever system our country has and whoever we vote for, the most important is people’s welfare. And the direct primary election gives the opportunity for citizens to have a clear election system. As we said before, the main problem in direct primaries, which is being criticized is that it costs a lot. But none of us can deny that the acceptability of the outcome as well as the confidence such engenders far outweighs the costs of the process. This type of elections in Nigeria can take control of a party fluid and get more participators. For this year’s elections, the chairmen have made a few decisions to make the elections “clear”. For example, they provide some limitations like security system, unavailability of up-to-date registers of card-carrying and free-paying party members and some other peculiarities. Also, one of the interesting facts is that a lot of politicians consider direct primary elections as a source of fear and they are kind of forced to increase the level of trust among the citizens.