House backs Speaker Gbajabiamila, restrict parties to direct primary

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday said that the parliament passed 2021 in good time to ensure the country maintains the January to December budget cycle started last year.

The House of Representatives has insisted on direct primary in the selection of candidates for elective public offices by political parties.

Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, stated that the amendment sought by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, to delete the options of indirect/delegates primary and consensus is a reflection of the yearnings of Nigerians.

Kalu, in a statement issued on Thursday and titled, ‘The Relevance of the Amended Clause 87 of the Electoral Act and the Re-Engineering of the Political Space, a Mileage of Our Democracy,’ listed reasons to justify the amendment.

The statement read, “This statement has become necessary to address the attacks against the leadership and members of the House of Representatives regarding the intervention of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, during the consideration of Clause 87 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, which has now been adopted by the Senate.

“Nigeria’s nascent democracy has matured in these 22 years of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic.

yearn for a new political order that empowers them to reject unpopular or incompetent political aspirants.

“A popular yearning of Nigerians in the electoral reform process was the call to discard the delegate-based primary election method in favour of direct primaries.

“Following extensive stakeholder consultations and engagements on electoral reforms, it is clear to the leadership of the House that the delegate-based primary election method is not only unpopular but is inefficient in producing credible candidates.”

It further read, “Indirect primaries have enabled godfatherism and the corruption attendant to this twisted form of aristocratic democracy.

“They have created a system where unpopular political candidates rely on buying delegates to vote for them or their cronies at party primaries. This is antithetical to the aim of a diligent primary election which is to choose credible candidates that would most likely be acceptable to the electorates.”

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