Electoral Bill: We’ll create more problems if we adopt direct primary now – Jega

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Attahiru Jega, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says more problems may be created if the direct primary mode is made compulsory for political parties.

Speaking at a town hall meeting on the electoral bill organised by Yiaga Africa on Sunday, Jega said it is not clear if any political party in the country has a comprehensive membership register.

The compulsory direct primary provision for political parties is contained in the electoral act amendment bill rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

While explaining his decision to decline assent to the bill, Buhari said adopting compulsory direct primary for political parties “violates the spirit of democracy”.

Speaking on the development, the former INEC chairman said it is important that the country goes into the 2023 polls with a new electoral law.

“I think that this country will be better off with a new electoral law which will enhance the preparation and conduct of the election,” he said.

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“Since 2010, we haven’t had a substantive legal framework for elections. We must ensure that this bill becomes law. It is very important that we have a legal framework, it will improve the integrity of the conduct of the election.

The lawmakers think that if they opt for direct primaries they will free themselves from manipulation.

We need to interrogate these things. If we must do direct primaries, we must do it well. Which political party in Nigeria today has a clear party register to conduct direct primaries? Let us not leave one problem and run into another one.

If we proceed to do it (direct primaries) the way we are doing it, we will create more problems.”

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