Politics

Nigerians, APC leader react to National Assembly adoption of direct primaries

Director of Information, National Assembly Abuja, Rawlings Agada, has said the sum of N37 billion, approved for the renovation of the National assembly complex may not be enough for the work.

Nigerians have continued to react to the recent adoption of direct primaries as a condition for political parties to pick candidates for elections.

Some persons who spoke to newsmen said that by their decision, the lawmakers have shown to Nigerians that they could be poised for the people’s interest.

Barrister Ejike Ejiofor, an Abuja based lawyer commended the National Assembly for the ‘deft’ move, saying that “it offers Nigerians increased hope for redemption as the 2023 elections approach.”

He wondered that “how on earth did we even start with indirect primaries with all its pitfalls? It gave all manner of the wrong people the opportunity to determine who wins an election and who loses. So it’s a good thing that the National Assembly, this Ninth Assembly has done. That is beside the passage of the Electronic Transmission of election results.”

Oslomb Ahamba, Director, Citizens Awareness Platform (a Civil Society Organisation) said “direct primaries will sanitize and stabilize the system, just as it will create an atmosphere of fairness among political office contestants.”

An APC Chieftain, Garus Gololo also commended the lawmakers as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily assent to the Bill as “this way the people will be duly represented.”

He added that “this is about the major Bill that Buhari will sign into law that will change the narrative for his administration and endear him to the people.”

According to Gololo, “through Direct primaries, votes will count, and the chances of vote-buying and voter manipulation by politicians will drastically reduce.”

While thanking the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the House of Reps Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila for “this laudable, landmark achievements for the country’s electoral system,” Dr Gololo maintained that the lawmakers and the governors must always be conscious that they were put in office by the masses.

“Only politicians who cannot deliver their wards and states, and those who sneaked into office will be afraid of direct primaries. It is time to test the popularity of politicians before the masses. This way we are sure of credible representation that will deliver the dividends of democracy to the grassroots,” he noted.

The recent opposition against direct primaries which was passed by the National Assembly has been attributed to moves to undermine the system by unpopular politicians who are afraid of the wishes of the masses.

The National Assembly had on November 9, 2021, defied spirited efforts by State Governors under the All Progressives Congress (APC) to scuttle lawmakers’ resolution on direct primaries as the legal mode for political parties to pick their candidates for general elections.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives deliberated extensively on the motion for direct primaries when the lawmakers resumed plenary after a three-week recess.

The leadership of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) on which platform most members of both chambers of the National Assembly were elected, however, complained bitterly against the move, rejecting the lawmakers’ position.

Preceding the lawmaker’s decision, the National Assembly earlier adopted the report of its Conference Committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, harmonizing 21 clauses in the process, including the contentious clause 52; which makes provision for Electronic Transmission of Election Result (ETR); as they also settled for the Senate version, which empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy Electronic Transmission of Poll Results.

They also adopted Clause 87, and passed the version of the Senate on direct primary as against indirect arrangement or leaving the option open for the political parties to nominate delegates for indirect primaries in order to decide who flies its flag during elections.

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