The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday kicked against the Senate’s approval of direct primaries for the nomination of candidates for elections, in all political parties.
The opposition party stated its position after the Senate reviewed its earlier decision on some clauses in the Electoral Amendment Bill that was passed in July.
Among the clauses the legislative body amended are sections 52 and 87.
Section 52 deals with methods of transmitting election results while section 87 deals with method of nominating candidates by political parties for elective positions.
Before setting up the harmonisation committee two weeks ago, the Senate had empowered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly to determine the use of electronic transmission of results in an election. On Tuesday, the Senate amended its stance and has allowed the electoral commission, INEC, determine whether to use electronic transmission of election results
Also, against the 2010 Electoral Act which allows political parties to opt for either direct or indirect primaries, the amended clause of 87(1) by the Senate on Tuesday said “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.”
In reaction to the development, the PDP said the decision of the Senate is anti-democratic and against the wishes of Nigerians.
“The party says the decision by the APC-controlled Senate is a humongous blow to the development of democratic norms and a plot to introduce anarchy during internal party elections as currently obtainable in the APC.
“The PDP holds that the provision is aimed at increasing the costs of nomination procedures thereby surrendering the processes to money bags against the wishes and aspiration of Nigerians.
“Our party makes bold to state that with the exception of the APC, which intends to deploy looted funds in future elections, hardly will there be any political party that will be able to raise the cost of conducting internal elections under a direct primary process.
“This is why the decision of the Senate has elicited widespread rejection from Nigerians across board,” the PDP spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan said in a statement.
While direct primaries involves the participation of all party members in the selection of party candidates, the 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.