Electoral Act: Why Buhari, Osinbajo, Govs, Others May Not Vote at APC Presidential Primaries

Electoral Act: Why Buhari, Osinbajo, Govs, Others May Not Vote at APC Presidential Primaries

  • President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to sign the new amendment to the Electoral Act into law by on or before Sunday, May 22
  • The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had said that political parties must submit their delegates’ lists not later than seven days to the primaries
  • However, the president's failure to sign the act into law before the deadline may disenfranchise him and other party chieftains from voting at APC primary

There are strong indications that President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and some prominent chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may not vote at the forthcoming presidential primary of the party.

The Punch reports that this may not be averted unless the president signs the fresh amendment to the Electoral Act into law by Sunday, May 22.

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Electoral Act, Buhari, Osinbajo.
President Muhammadu Buhari presiding over FEC meeting in Abuja. Credit: Buhari Sallau.
Source: Facebook

Legit.ng gathered that other that party's chieftains that would be affected by not signing the act into law include National Assembly members, governors, their deputies and other statutory delegates in the party.

Others who may be disenfranchised during the primaries, as applicable to all the 17 other political parties, include the National Working Committee members, state party chairmen and secretaries, local government chairmen, their deputies, councillors and party chairmen in the 774 local government areas.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission had stressed that political parties were expected to submit their delegates’ lists not later than seven days to the primaries.

This implies that since the APC presidential primary starts on Sunday, May 29, if the president does not sign the bill into law by Sunday (tomorrow), the political office holders, including Buhari, may not be able to vote unless they have been voted as delegates.

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It also means that if the president does not sign the bill into law by today (Saturday), the political office holders in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party won’t be able to vote unless they are voted as delegates since the party already fixed its presidential primary for May 28 and 29.

Some party chieftains, including the director-general of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu; the majority leader in the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa; and the Ndudi Elumelu-led minority caucus in the House, told the newspaper that there could be confusion and crisis if Buhari did not sign the bill promptly.

Elumelu said:

“Our caucus calls on all Nigerians, the civil society, the international community and all lovers of democracy to prevail on President Buhari to immediately sign the amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022 and save our nation from an avoidable crisis.
“I am aware that the amended clause has been transmitted to Mr. President for his assent. I am optimistic that Mr. President will assent to it without hesitation whatsoever. It’s an amendment that was well-intended and meant well for the smooth selection of candidates in the various political parties. Any legislation transmitted by the National Assembly to Mr. President for assent takes 30 calendar days before counteraction can be contemplated by the parliament. It’s my hope that Mr President will do the needful before it gets out of hand.”

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INEC says parties must submit delegates’ lists seven days to primaries

The INEC stressed that the law mandates political parties to submit their delegates’ lists to the commission not later than seven days to their primaries.

This implies that for the major political parties, the APC and PDP, if they decide to adopt indirect primaries, the identified political office holders will be disenfranchised, unless they have been elected as delegates at the primaries.

Speaking on the issue, INEC’s national commissioner and chairman of its voter education committee, Festus Okoye, said Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022 made it mandatory that the primaries must be conducted in a democratic manner and allowing for all members of the party or duly elected delegates to vote in support of candidates of their choice.

He said:

“By Article 4.5 of the commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of political party primaries, a political party that adopts the indirect primary mode shall make available to the commission, not later than seven days to the date of the primary, the list of persons that will form the delegates that are eligible to vote for nomination of the party’s candidates to contest every eligible position.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that there were numerous calls for the INEC to extend the deadline for conducting primary elections.

It was reported that this call is coming based on the premise that most political parties, especially the ruling party APC and the main opposition (PDP) are yet to sort out the lists of their delegates ahead of the party primaries which are barely two weeks away.

APC stalwart, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim counseled the electoral body not to pressure political parties conducting their primaries.

Source: Legit.ng

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