The National Assembly on Wednesday has removed the contentious clause mandating political parties to conduct direct primary while electing their candidates.
The National Assembly had in November, 2021 passed and transmitted the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari.
But, Buhari in December declined his assent to the bill over the inclusion of the clause 84 compelling parties to adopt Direct Primaries as a mode of electing their flagbearers.
The president’s disapproval of the popular clause had been a subject of intense debate among Nigerians and groups in the past weeks as many have described Buhari’s stance on it as a setback to the nation’s democratic process ahead of the 2023 elections.
The president in the letter addressed to the leaders of the both chambers, sent the bill back for rework on the grounds that the direct primaries will lead to a significant spike in the cost of conducting primary elections by parties as well as increase in the cost of monitoring such elections by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Following resumption of plenary on Wednesday, the Senate bowed to the pressure from the executive by removing the clause that makes direct primary mandatory for political parties from the electoral act amendment bill.
Senate resolved to rescind its decision on the affected Clause of the Bill as passed and re-commit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.
Similarly, the house of representatives has amended the clause 84 to include indirect primary in the electoral bill.
The clause was reworked following a motion sponsored by Chairman, Committe on rules and business, Hon. Abubakar Fulata.
While reconsidering the bill on Wednesday, the house amended clause 84 (2) of the bill and adopted that “the procedure for nomination of candidates by political parties for various elective positions shall be by direct and indirect primaries”.