NIGERIA’S senate has approved an amendment to the Electoral Act which now compels political parties to only use direct or indirect primaries to nominate their candidates cutting out the practise of abstract selection and appointment.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, Nigeria has struggled to come up with a political arrangement that produces candidates seamlessly. Particularly within the two main parties, primaries have regularly been the subject of litigation, violence, disruption and endless wrangling.
Within both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition the People Democratic Party (PDP), there have been instances where courts have nullified selection processes because no primaries were held. State governors in particular, have been notorious for imposing candidates on their parties arbitrarily, while thugs and armed gunmen have also been used to disrupt primaries over the years.
Trying to introduce some sanity into the system, today, the senate passed a motion titled Motion for Re-committal sponsored by senate leader Senator Yahaya Abdullahi. Also, the senate resolved that the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) is free to determine the mode of transmission of election results, be it electronic or manual.
This represents a reversal of an earlier resolution that Inec can transmit elections results electronically with approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly. This bill will now go for a second reading before going to committee stage.