12th May, 2022
By Adeyemi Adeleye
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has expressed reservation over the House of Representatives’ passage of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Amendment Act, 2022.
This would allow statutory delegates to participate in political parties’ congresses and conventions.
Earlier on Wednesday, the House amended the clause after considering a Bill sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep. Abubakar Fulata.
The current version, which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in February, prevented statutory delegates from taking part in party primaries.
According to Section 84 (8) of the Electoral Amendment Act, a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates.
Reacting, Mr Olusegun Mobolaji, the IPAC Chairman in Lagos State, said the amendment could be a good one if the intention or motive was to deepen democracy.
However, the amendment may be done due to some selfish interests, according to him.
“The statutory delegates now may have their ways of imposing whatever and whoever they want on every other person in the party.
“In a sane society and country where things are normal, we may say the amendment is fine,” he said.
He said that the statutory delegates were disallowed in the signed Electoral Act 2022 because the National Assembly wanted the people to be the full determinant of who rules them.
According to him, the statutory delegates have always wanted to use their influence and affluence to subvert the will of ordinary members of the party in choosing the best representatives.
Mobolaji said that in developed democracies, statutory delegates were considered good because they might know the right persons to fly the party’s ticket more than ordinary people.
“I believe we should allow the people, masses in the parties to bring in who exactly they want to represent them so that they can be responsible for whoever is there.
“Now that statutory delegates are reconsidered, let them not use their money and influence to rob the people of right leadership,”
The statutory delegates include councillors, local government chairmen and their vices, political party chairmen in all the 774 LGAs, and state and federal lawmakers.
Others are: Governors and their Deputies, President and Vice President, political parties’ National Working Committee members, state party chairmen and secretaries.
With this amendment, statutory delegates, in addition to the delegates elected by various political parties, are allowed at congresses and conventions to elect candidates for various political offices.