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‘National Assembly should agree with Buhari on electoral bill’

By John Akubo, Abuja
14 January 2022   |   3:42 am
After senators’ grandstanding last year to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, both chambers have indicated they are now ready...

Senate President Ahmed Lawan. Photo: TWITTER/DRAHMADLWAN/TOPEBROWN

After senators’ grandstanding last year to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, both chambers have indicated they are now ready to rework the bill, a member of the House iof Representatives, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, has said.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, had last year, told Nigerians that they wiould first consult with the lower legislative chamber after the Yuletide break before replying Buhari.

Ossai, who chairs the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, while featuring on a live programme monitored in Abuja, agreed with the President’s position.

According to him, all the reasons adduced by President Buhari for refusing assent to the bill as a result of Clause 87 of the legislation that forces direct primaries on all parties as the only means of selecting candidates, are valid, genuine and reasonable.

The President, he added, consulted widely and acted wisely by refusing assent to the bill, which according to him, would have made party primaries chaotic and fraudulent in the country.

He continued: “Despite not being in the same political party with Mr. President, I align myself with his position on direct primaries. It shouldn’t have been the only option given in the rejected legislation based on past nasty experiences.

“What is left for both chambers of the National Assembly to do now, is to on resumption next week, widen the scope of provisions in Section 87 of the bill as requested for by the President, by adding indirect option to the direct one only recommended in the rejected bill.

“The President’s fears are genuine, as there are no valid membership registers by any of the political parties now, which is the main basis upon which direct primaries can be credible.

Ossai added: “Besides, there is no democracy in the world where direct primaries are imposed as single option of election for party candidates. The mostly applicable one is Direct–Indirect System where delegates will be elected and later converged to elect candidates of party for general elections.

“As it is now and going by direction of debates on Clause 87 of the Electoral Bill, both chambers of the National Assembly will surely concur with the position of the President on resumption next week.”