…Approves only direct primaries for parties
The Nigerian Senate yesterday adopted electronic transmission of election results, a position that was contained in the Conference Committee report submitted to the chamber.
The electronic transmission of election results, which is a proviso in clause 53 of the Electoral Amendment Act, places on the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), the right to transmit results without subjecting their discretion to any other organ as was firstly captured that generated controversy.
However, the adoption wasn’t without heated debate, which was brought under control by the presiding Senate President.
Before the adoption in the Committee of the whole, Sen. Adamu Aliero and former governor of Kebbi State, in his submission, urged Senators to support the amendment in order to strengthen democracy.
He said, “This is a move that will deepen our democracy and a move that will make the electorate to vote according to their conscience. This will put paid to criminals having their way as people of questionable character can no longer be voted”.
Senator Smart Adeyemi, representing Kogi-West, opposed the amendment on clause 87, which deals with direct primaries of political parties. He advocated strongly for some political parties who lack the capacity to organise direct primaries, saying it should be left for party executives to conduct indirect primaries.
However, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, representing Ekiti-Central senatorial districts, said every card-carrying member of a political party should be allowed to vote for their aspirants.
According to him, the mode of party primary which is determined by all party members would be more democratic than indirect where a few party executives vote for aspirants.
Senator AbdulFatai Buhari, representing Oyo-North, corroborated in his submission, saying those opposed to direct primaries were afraid, wondering that if a contestant was as popular as he thinks, then he or she needed not to be afraid.
Senator Shu’aibu Lau, representing Taraba North Senatorial district called for caution in not tieing political parties to a form of conducting primaries. He said the mode of conducting primaries should be left for parties to decide.
When the chamber resorted to the committee of the whole, the electronic means of transmitting election results was passed, while political parties are to determine how their primaries are conducted.
The Upper chamber also approved an amendment to the Electoral Act which provides that political parties would henceforth use only the direct mode of primaries to elect candidates for elections.
Recall that the Senate had earlier approved a provision in the Electoral Bill, which allowed parties to use either direct or indirect mode of primaries in nominating candidates for elections during primaries.
The Upper chamber made the resolution following a motion titled: ‘Motion for recommittal‘, sponsored by the Senate Leader, Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi-North).