How delegates who will pick presidential candidates are selected

As the 2023 presidential election draws near, a number of politicians have begun jostling for the tickets of their parties.

While there has been talk about zoning the presidency to the south, aspirants from different parts of the country have indicated interest in clinching their party’s ticket.

In the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the likes of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos; Rotimi Amaechi, transportation minister, and Yahaya Bello, Kogi governor, are seeking to clinch the party’s ticket.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has already screened 17 presidential hopefuls.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, former president of the senate; Aminu Tambuwal, Sokoto governor, and Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor, are among those vying for PDP’s ticket.

But how will presidential candidates of the parties be picked?

Types Of Presidential Primary Election

The new electoral act provides that candidates for whatever public office can be selected by indirect primary, direct primary or through consensus method.

In the build-up to 2015 polls, the APC picked President Muhammadu Buhari using an indirect primary method. The exercise was held in Lagos and delegates chose him to fly the party’s flag.

Buhari polled 3,430 votes to defeat Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Kano governor; Atiku, Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor; and the late Sam Nda-Isaiah, publisher of Leadership Newspaper.

But upon seeking re-election in 2019, the party used direct primary to affirm Buhari as the party’s candidate. All party members interested in the process voted directly to affirm Buhari as the party’s candidate.

The PDP chose Atiku as its presidential candidate in 2019 using the indirect primary mode.

He polled 1,532 votes to defeat the likes of Tambuwal, Saraki, Jonah Jang, former Plateau governor, and David Mark, former president of the senate.

In the forthcoming elections, the two main parties are going to pick their presidential candidates using the indirect primary method and delegates are the ultimate deciders.

Presidential hopefuls of the various parties have been visiting the state chapters of their political parties to woo them.

How Delegates Are Picked

There are two types of delegates — the ad hoc and the statutory.

The ad hoc delegates are picked by holding congresses in the wards across the country. The process involves party members choosing people who will vote on their behalf in the party’s governorship or presidential primary election.

While the PDP is currently holding its congresses across the country to choose its ad hoc delegates, the APC will begin that process on May 7.

The national executive committees (NECs) — highest organ — of political parties are to determine the mode for which these congresses are to be held.

After the delegates are selected, a convention will be held to enable them to decide on who will fly the party’s gubernatorial or presidential flag.

On the other hand, the statutory delegates — also known as automatic delegates — are those party members who have held public office before.

They include former presidents, governors, deputy governors, former national and state house of assembly members.

Also, party members who currently hold the aforementioned positions are eligible to vote to pick candidates at the conventions of the political parties.

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