19th January, 2022
By Femi Ogunshola
The House of Representatives has rescinded its decision on direct primaries for political parties in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, by adopting both direct and direct primaries in the bill.
This followed the recommittal of the Bill at the House on Wednesday during plenary.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over committee of the Whole, put the question into a voice vote, which was unanimously adopted.
The House however, adopted only direct and indirect primaries as the only modes of primaries for political parties to choose their candidates.
Rep. Abubakar Fulata (APC-Jigawa) who moved for the adoption of the report on the floor of the house recalled that the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the President for assent which was withheld.
He noted that in withholding his assent, the President particularly referred to the amendment of Section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 dealing with the mode of nomination of candidates by political parties.
He further noted that Section 87(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 provided that the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the National Assembly amended Section 87(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 as clause 84(2) of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
According to Fulata, the report reads that “the procedure for nomination of candidates by political parties for various elective positions shall be by direct primaries.
This, he said, was cognisant of the need to allow political parties to choose the procedure for nomination of candidates for elective positions.
The House, however, committed Section 84(2) of the Bill to the Committee of the Whole for reconsideration in accordance with Order 12, Rule 20 (1-3) of the Standing Orders of the House.
In his ruling, Gbajabiamila said that the Committee of the Whole had considered the request of the president to allow political parties choose between direct and indirect primaries
He said in accordance with the rules of the House, it could not change the entire body of the Bill but could only address issues raised by the President.