- Reactions have continued to trail the proposed amendment of the Electoral Act as governors are pressurizing senators and House of Reps members to reexamine their position
- According to reports, the Nigerian Governors’ are of the opinion that the proposed amendment on the Electoral Act regarding election primaries is against their will
- Meanwhile, both chambers of the National Assembly, are working tirelessly on the amendments of the Electoral Act
Governors are mounting pressure on Senators and House of Representatives members to reconsider their position on direct primary mode of picking candidates by political parties, it was learnt on Wednesday, October 27.
The Nation reports that the governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) believe that the proposed amendment of the Electoral Act on shadow poll is directed against them, according to the source.
Both chambers of the National Assembly are rounding off legislative work on the amendments to the Electoral Act.
The newspaper learnt that the governors prefer the delegate system, which allows the participation of statutory delegates and elected delegates to elect candidates.
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While the House of Representatives adopted direct primary, the Senate, which initially okayed a choice between direct and indirect primaries, later adopted direct primary approach.
Although the Conference Committee of the National Assembly has harmonised the positions of the two chambers-Senate and House of Representatives, the task is inconclusive until the Conference Report is adopted.
The source said:
“The governors see this as a window of opportunity to mount last minute pressure on the National Assembly to reconsider its position on this aspect of the Electoral Act.”
Political parties mode of selection
While the constitutions of various political parties spell out the modes of selection of candidates for elections, they will be inferior to the Electoral Act if there is conflict.
The constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emphasises the indirect system while the constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has provisions for consensus, direct primary and indirect primary.
The consensus option implies an internal agreement by the party to adopt or queue behind a candidate collectively adopted.
The indirect primary implies the choice of a flag bearer by delegates who were elected at ward, local government and state levels.
The direct primary mode
Under the direct primary mode, all party members are eligible to vote in the primary.
Senate Spokesman Senator Ajibola Basiru recently shed light on the provisions on direct primaries, stressing that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) now has a more vigorous duty to monitor the primaries.
He said political parties are now mandated by the law to furnish the aspirants and the electoral commission with the guidelines and the party membership register.
The spokesman said the issue of armophorous membership will become a thing of the past.
“Accreditation will be based on party register. Any aggrieved person can go to the Federal High Court to challenge any aspect.”
Basiru stated he was not aware of any pressure on the National Assembly from any quarter.
He noted that the parliament had gone far with the amendment, following the submission of the report of the Conference Committee.
Yiaga hosts key stakeholders in Abuja, calls for harmonisation by NASS
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that Yiaga Africa has urged the National Assembly to set up a conference committee to harmonise different versions of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the Senate and House of Representatives.
Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, made the call while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a ‘Stakeholders’ Reflection Roundtable on Electoral Reform’ held in Abuja on Friday, September 17.
Mbamalu called on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill when submitted to him, saying that the country needs an electoral law that can be tried at least in the next election and during off-cycle elections before the general elections.