By Suleiman Umaru
At long last, President Muhammadu Buhari, has forced the National Assembly to take another look at the November, 2221, Electoral Ammendment Bill, which he had refused to sign into Law. Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to The Katsina state born Nigerian President had said that the Katsina state born Nigerian President could not sign he Bill to save the country’s democracy’’.
The Lawmakers had proposed the mandatory use of direct primary for all the political parties in the country which the Nigerian President had said will be too expensive to execute as ‘’it will put a financial burden on the country slim resources’’.
The Nigerian President had said that conducting direct primary election by the parties will be tasking,as there would be large turnout of voters would overstretch the security agencies personnel, insisting that the Lawmakers must take another look on the Electoral Amendment Bill and make the necessary amendment for him to assent to it.
Femi Gbajabiamila, led House of Representatives may have given a hint that the House will take another look at the Bill this January, preparatory to returning to the retired Army General for his Assent into Law.On Wednesday, January 18, 2022, the Senate approved both direct and indirect primaries for the Political Parties. The Lawmakers were said to have also added the consensus clause for the nomination of candidates by the Political parties for elective positions.
Abdullahi Sule , governor of Nasarawa state may have given an insight why the retired Army General declined initially to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill over the direct primary clause and a the electronic transmission of results because the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Constitution , provides three modes for conducting its primaries- consensus, direct and indirect primaries.
Contrary to reports making the rounds that the governors were against the direct primary option, the Nasarawa governor, disclosed that they were not in any way against the direct primary proposed for the parties by the National Assembly but had suggested that the options should be left open instead of ‘’boxing the parties with either direct or indirect primaries’’.
He believes that with the propoposed options given to the parties, by the National Assembly to select their candidates for the 2023, general elections and future elections, Nigerians would be surprised that most of the states will still do direct primary.
The Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, under the close watch of Kayode Fayemi. Governor of Ekiti state , has commended the Ahmad Lawan, led Senate, for giving room for direct, indirect and consensus options for nominating candidates for the various political parties in the country. The Lawmakers were said to commended for amending clause 84 regarding the mode of selecting candidates by the parties in the general elections in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.They were said to have also urged the House to do the same by adding the consensus clause.
With the amendment of the electoral Bill by the National Assembly, after two months of behind the scene maneuvering that the retired Army will not find fault with it again but to assent o it. Ayodele Fayose, a former governor of Ekiti state, on the Platform of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, would want Buhari, to asent the Electoral Bil into Law , with the ammendmenes that had had been introduced into the Bill by the Lawmakers to meet Buhari and the APC, governor’s expectation .
The former Ekiti governor state governor had said that now the National Assembly had done the right thing by proposing more options for the parties to use in conducting their primaries to select Candidates for the 2023 general elections andfuture elections Buhari should’’ waste no time at assenting to the Bill and let the process have ebough time to adjust’’.
Fayose, who could not hide his feelings had said that Buhari has a way finding faults with Bills passed by the National Assembly in order not to sign it. He noted that the Nigerian President first rejected to assent to the Electoral Bill in the build-up to the 2019, general elections but gave excuses.
He averred that ‘’if he refuses to sign the Electoral Bill, this time around, on one exuse or another , Fayose stated that it would give Nigerians the ammunition to know that there was more to his eactions’’. But the likes of Fayoyose, the former have no cause to worry as Buhari, has already assured Nigerians that that he sign the an amended version of the Electoral Amendment Act ‘’if the National Assembly becomes more democratic and include other modes of selection of Candidates by the Political parties which it had done by including indirect option to the direct option that had earlier been proposed and consensus option for selection of of candidates by the parties for elections.