The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, says it has received the news of the passage of the harmonised Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which among other things, provided for direct primaries for nomination of candidates for elections by political parties.
The party, however, held that it is the inalienable right of each political party, within the context of Nigeria’s constitutional democracy, to decide its form of internal democratic practices including the processes of nominating its candidates for elections at any level.
In a statement by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said it believes that no political party should force its own processes on any other political party “as the direct primaries amendment, a practice of the All Progressives Congress, APC, sought to achieve”.
Having stated this, the PDP further stated that it shall, within the next 48 hours, make its final decision in respect of the amendment known to the public.
A New Amendment
The Senate and the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, passed a harmonized version of the 2010 Electoral Act (amendment) Bill, 2021, after adopting the report of their joint Conference Committee.
Among others, the synchronized version of the bill mandates all political parties to conduct their primaries using the direct method.
This method will afford all party members the opportunity to vote and elect candidates for all elections. It differs from the indirect primary, where only party leaders and elected officials act as delegates to decide candidates.
The bill also gives legal backing to the Independent National Electoral Commission to transmit election results electronically without the permission of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
A seven-man conference committee had earlier been constituted by the Upper chamber to meet with members of the House of Representatives Conference Committee and harmonize the differences in the Senate and House versions of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
On October 12, the Senate bowed to pressure, giving INEC the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results.
This followed the reversal of its earlier decision which suggested that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.
Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting”.
Shortly after the Senate’s approval, the House of Representatives also passed the bill, completing the process of amending the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.