Electoral Act: NASS approves direct primaries for political parties

The National Assembly on Tuesday laid to rest mode of primaries to be adopted by the various political parties for emergence of their candidates in the 2023 general election by adopting  direct primaries.
It also as contained in clause 52 of the 2010 Electoral Act ( Amendment ) Bill 2021  as earlier recommended by the Senate, gave the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) , usage of technological /  electronic devices  in the conduct of  elections and transmission of results .

Concurrence to this effect by both chambers of the National Assembly , followed adoption of report of Conference Committees set up by the Senate and the House of Representatives in July this year by the Senate in plenary on Tuesday.
A total of 21 clauses as presented by the leader of the Senate Commitee on Harmonization , Senator Yahaya Abdullahi ( APC Kebbi North) , were harmonized by either adopting the one earlier adopted by the Senate or House of Representatives.

Yahaya Abdullahi in presenting the report said : ” The objective of the conference Commitee was a reconciliation of the differences in a few clauses of the bill as passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“The clauses are 1, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17, 23, 24, 31, 36, 43, 49, 50, 52, 63, 76, 87, 97, 98, 117 and 135.
Out of the 21 clauses , 52 and 87 are the most controversial being the ones dealing with conduct of elections , transmission of results and mode of Primaries for political parties.

While the Senate in July when the Bill was passed , it made electronic transmission of election results by INEC to be subjected to approval of Nigerian Communications Commission ( NCC) as regards coverage and effectiveness of National Network , the House passed a clause that says ” electronic transmission of election results by INEC can be done where and when practicable.”

But the finally adopted provision of the clause by both Chambers based on the conference Commitee report, is the amended one carried out by the Senate last work which says that ” mode of Conduct of elections and transmission of results are to be decided by  INEC.” 
For clause 87 which deals with mode of primary elections for political parties , the amended version of the Senate which compelled all political parties to use direct primaries , was adopted.

The clause reads : “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission ( INEC).”

Out of the 21 clauses that were harmonized, 14 were adopted from the earlier ones passed by the Senate and the remaining 7 clauses were adopted from earlier ones passed by the House of Representatives .
In his remarks after presentation of the report to the Senate , the Chairman of the Senate Conference Commitee , Yahaya Abdullahi said : ” .

This bill is a process that started from the 7th Assembly through to the 8th National Assembly , has now been completed by the 9th National Assembly.”
Aside Abdullahi Yahaya in the Senate , other members of the committee are Senators Kabiru Gaya , Danjuma Goje, Sani Musa , Mathew Urhoghide, Ajibola Basiru and Uche Ekwunife

On the Committee from  the House of Representatives are Hon Akeem Adeyemi as Chairman ,  Aisha Dukku ,  James Faleke , Blessing Onuh , Ahmed Kalambaina, Chris Azubogu and Hon Unyime Idem .