‘We will not fund party primaries’ – INEC

‘We will not fund party primaries’ – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will not fund party primaries, whether direct or indirect.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Muktar Batera, disclosed this to journalists after a meeting with Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Batera, the committee discussed the INEC budget and the cost implications of direct primaries on the Commission.

He stated that INEC’s role in primaries is minimal because political parties are primaries.

“In our discussions with the INEC Chairman, we wanted to know his requirements for the 2023 elections as well as the cost of direct or indirect primaries.

“On the primaries, he specifically told us the role of INEC in direct or indirect primaries, which he said is just minimal.

He said the responsibility lies with all the political parties.

He said conducting primaries is the role of political parties and not INEC.

“For direct primaries, what the INEC Chairman told us is that only the political parties are responsible for primaries and the funding of the primaries,” he said.

Mr Yakubu, while speaking with journalists after the meeting, said the Commission is yet to give an estimate for the conduct of primaries.

He also refused to divulge the content of his letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reports confirm that the President wrote a letter to INEC requesting counsel on the controversial direct primaries.

The House had resolved that the Committees on Appropriations and Communications interface with the INEC boss on the cost of direct primaries.

The direct primaries clause in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill has created friction between the members of the National Assembly and the governors.

The direct primary election is the mode of the election whereby registered members of a party vote for who they want to be their party’s candidate.

On the other hand, the indirect primary election involves using a delegate system.

It is the delegates who decide who will be the party’s candidate.

The bill was transmitted to the President after two chambers had adopted the harmonised report of the joint committee of the National Assembly.

Under the aegis of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), the APC governor opposed the clause on direct primaries in the bill.

After the governors’ meeting, the Chairman of the forum, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, said the political parties should decide on the mode of selection.

The cost of direct primaries has been the recurring argument against the bill.

This paper had reported that INEC endorsed the direct primaries clause.

 
Suzan O/PremT
‘We will not fund party primaries’ – INEC

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