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Lawan, Gbajabiamila pick holes in electoral system, bemoan lawmakers’ loss at primaries

By Adamu Abuh, John Akubo (Abuja), Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) and Opeyemi Babalola (Lagos)
15 June 2022   |   4:11 am
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Senate President Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, bemoaned lawmakers’ loss of return tickets, even as they faulted the nation’s electoral system.

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila PHOTO:Twitter

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House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Senate President Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, bemoaned lawmakers’ loss of return tickets, even as they faulted the nation’s electoral system.

Speaking during the resumption of legislative business, hitherto suspended to allow lawmakers fight the battle for return tickets ahead of the 2023 general elections, Gbajabiamila blamed the delegates system for the rejection of his colleagues in the recent primaries held across the country.

He said: “It is rather unfortunate that the process went the way it went. I make bold to say, here, that the legislature has, once again, suffered losses. The loss really is not for members who lost; it is a loss to democracy, to the institution and to the country.

“If it means anything, I know and I am aware that many of our members did not lose their primaries because they were rejected by their constituents. Many of our members lost because of the process, which we foresaw in the House of Representatives – the delegate system, which, unfortunately, is not what a delegate system is supposed to be.”

He added: “Many of our members lost because they were not even given a fair shot. We have good legislators, both here in the chambers and back home, who are probably not coming back because of this same process.

“When we fought for direct primaries in this House, we knew exactly what we were saying. It pains me very deeply that the process has gone the way it has. We will continue to push and continue to fight for our members, for democracy, for the institution and this country.”

SIMILARLY, Lawan admitted the electoral process threw up new issues that may need to be addressed by parliament. He gave assurance that the National Assembly would look at the issues, with a view to addressing them and making the electoral process better.

According to him, “the Electoral Act itself, even though a good document, is not a perfect one. So, it needs some refinement from time to time to improve our electoral process.” He expressed sympathy with colleagues that lost out at primaries, even as he congratulated winners.

Meanwhile, Yobe North senatorial candidate, Bashir Sheriff Machina, has vowed he would not relinquish the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket to Lawan.

His spokesman, Hussaini Isa, in Damaturu, yesterday, insisted the candidate has not and will not step down for any other aspirant or candidate.

He said Machina never participated in the primary with a plan to step down for anyone, and was looking forward to accomplishing the mandate given to him by people in the district.

He said: “Machina did not step down and will not step down for anyone, including Lawan. Machina contested the senatorial primary and won with delegates’ massive votes. Why will he step down for the Senate President?”

Lawan, who came 4th in the presidential primary of the APC, may have to fall back on the bid to remain Senate President.

IN another development, Senators Yahaya Abdullahi and Enyinnaya Abaribe formally resigned their positions as Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate.

Lawan announced the development at resumption of plenary, yesterday. The resignations followed their defection from the political parties on which they were elected.

While Abdullahi defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the APC, Abaribe dumped PDP for All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

The letter of Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi), announcing his defection from APC to PDP, was also read on the floor of the Senate.