A former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, has faulted the adoption by the Senate of a clause in the Electoral Ammendment Bill mandating direct primaries for the nomination of candidates for elections by political parties.
Mr Lamido, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the dclause violates the Nigerian Constitution and advised his party to challenge it in court.
The Senate, on Tuesday, adopted the clause after reviewing its earlier position to concur with the House of Representatives on the nomination of candidates for elections.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Kabir Gaya (APC, Kano) had defended the clause, saying it will curtail the excesses of governors in their parties.
But Mr Lamido has a different view.
In a statement on Wednesday, he said the Constitution allows political parties to regulate the conduct of their affairs and mandates the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure they comply with the provisions of their constitutions.
Mr Lamido said the National Assembly, which is controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC), has turned itself into the sole administrator of political parties.
“It is true that there was a time in our political evolution when we had parties headed by late Air Marshal Alfa as the Sole Administrator of SDP and NRC! But that was when the political parties were invented and owned by the government with full complements of offices from the National, States and Local government, office furniture, motor vehicles, motorcycles.
“Full funding of all the parties activities including transportation and accommodation during congresses and conventions and what have you! Simply put the parties were not sovereign but mere government appendages! We all know the attendant consequences,” the former governor said.
“Given that this legislation stands, will the Senate make the required budgetary provision to ALL Political parties to meet up the expenditure of fulfilling this piece of law?
“While the APC Senate has all the powers in this world to make any law, it behoves upon it to meet the responsibilities of making sure that its laws are obeyed to the fullest!
“Meantime PDP should set up all the necessary machinery to challenge this piece of legislation in court,” he said.
Mr Lamido’s PDP had earlier also opposed the proposal, describing it as undemocratic.
What the clause says
Section 87 (1) of the bill now reads, “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission.”
While direct primaries involves the participation of all party members in the selection of party candidates, indirect primaries involves the use of delegates who are usually leaders and members of the executives at the ward, local government and state levels, to elect the party’s candidate (s) at a congress or convention.
Many governors have been accused in the past of influencing these delegates to do their bidding.