The House of Representatives has invited the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to clear the air on the cost implication of conducting direct primaries by political parties in the country.
Yakubu is to appear before the House Committees on Appropriations and Electoral Matters to speak on the matter.
The House resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance moved on Thursday in Abuja during plenary by the lawmaker representing Yagba-East/Yagba-West/Mopa-Muro federal constituency of Kogi State, Rep. Leke Abejide.
It was unanimously endorsed at the session, which was presided over by the House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Abejide called attention to the speculation making the rounds that it would cost over N500billion for political parties to conduct direct primaries ahead of the 2023 general elections, a cost implication said to likely decide the fate of the Electoral Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2021 still pending before President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Bill captured direct primaries as the mode of choosing the candidates of political parties for elections.
He noted that as the umpire supervising both the primaries of political parties and the main elections, the INEC chairman would be the appropriate official to clear the air on the cost implications of direct primaries.
Abedeji added, “We all know the importance of direct primaries. Some people say it will cost N500bn. This is mere speculation, because the cost of direct primaries may be within the budget of INEC”.
He stated that the best time to invite Yakubu would be now that the 2022 Budget was still pending before the National Assembly. He explained that this would help the legislature to decide on appropriate budgeting.
Giving his directive after the motion was passed, Speaker Gbajabiamila said, “Committees on INEC and Appropriation, please invite the INEC chairman so that he can give us the possible cost implications of direct primaries”.