As most state governors have continued to kick against the new electoral Act proposing for direct primaries ahead of the 2023 General election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says they are waiting for President Buhari’s approval to swing into action.
Recall, the National Assembly had last weeks forwarded the Electoral Bill 2021 to President Buhari for his assent. However, the proposal of the direct primaries has stirred controversy among political actors where some Governors and some members of the National Assembly has pitched tent against the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Although, the party convened a meeting at the presidential Villa to iron out the dispute and get the thing right it hits a brick wall as they could not resolve.
Meanwhile, the two chambers of the National Assembly have already passed the bill into law and have since sent it to Mr President for his assent.
As it is, all hands are crossed waiting for President Buhari’s decision on the Act of either to endorse the direct primaries or otherwise.
APC governors converged yesterday at the Kebbi state Governors lodge to deliberate on the matter. Anthony Sani, former Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum described the stance of the Peoples Democratic Party against the direct primaries as lacking in morality.
Sani opined that direct primaries would checkmate the imposition of candidates by some Governors, abuse of incumbency and the game of money bags that fly during primary elections.
Meanwhile, a federal Commissioner in INEC who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that though they do not have a choice they are keenly waiting for Mr President Verdict. He disclosed any law that is passed on the matter is what the INEC will adopt.
However, he added that the implication is only that direct primaries require a lots of logistics support because they have to supervise all the processes from ward level up to the federal level.
The Electoral Act was presented to President Buhari on November 18, 2021, signed by the clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Ojo Olatunde Amos.
The letter partly reads, “In consonance with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, I wish, with due respect, to forward to Your Excellency, the authenticated copies of Electoral Bill, 2021 for your consideration and assent.
“After Your Excellency’s assent, one copy of the signed Bill should be retained in your office while the other two are to be returned for our further action, please. With my highest regards.”
One of a top Senator said, “With the transmission, the governors have lost the battle to reverse our decision on the direct primary which we took in the overall interest of our democracy.
“Our position is that we must put an end to impunity and imposition of candidates. Let all those who want to contest in 2023 emerge through a free and fair process.
“We won’t allow any group of people to sit in a place to fix candidates for elective offices.”
Information gathered revealed that the Governor is now losing sleep to ensure that Mr president refuses to assent the Act as it will go against their interest of imposition of candidates into elected offices.