Primaries: Kebbi senator wants indirect, consensus system expunged from electoral act
The Senator representing Kebbi North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Yahaya Abdullahi, has sought an amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022 to make direct primary the sole mode of nominating candidates for elections.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier declined assent to the electoral bill over the mandatory use of direct primary elections for all political parties.
Buhari said that conducting a direct primary will be tasking, explaining that since such a mode of election means a large turnout of voters, the move would stretch the security agencies.
But Senator Abdullahi, while raising a matter of national importance on the floor of the Senate yesterday, said the outcomes of the party primaries conducted through the delegate system, has underscored the need to revert to the direct mode of primaries.
Abdullahi was among the aggrieved senators who defected from the ruling APC after failing to secure tickets to contest the 2023 elections, a development they blamed on manipulation of the delegate system by state governors.
He said: “One issue still remains outstanding, and that is amending the Act (after the 2023 elections) to revert to our earlier stance on direct primaries.
“Our recent nasty experience of the misuse of consensus and delegate system has vindicated our earlier position on the merit of direct primaries, provided that a verifiable membership register of political parties is kept simultaneously at the ward level and with INEC with all the necessary safeguards against corruption and data manipulation in place.
“As the political process towards 2023 unfolds, the National Assembly needs to be observant of the loopholes and weaknesses of the 2022 Electoral Act, so that a comprehensive assessment is undertaken to provide adequate grounds for making amendments to the act before the end of the term of office of the 9th Assembly in May 2023.”
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said that efforts will be made by the National Assembly to amend the electoral act to serve as a safeguard against weaknesses identified in the law.
Lawan, in his remark, described the judgement by the Supreme Court on section 84(12) of the Electoral Act as a “landmark” judgment that vindicates the National Assembly.
According to him, further amendments to the act would strengthen it ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said, “The idea of what method of primaries should be adopted at the moment is entirely left for the political parties to decide.”