The Nigerian Senate has removed the controversial (direct Primaries) clause 84 in the Electoral Amendment Bill, 2021 to allow other modes of primaries.
Therefore, by deleting clause 84 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, political parties now have three options of choosing their candidates for elections.
The new options in the proposed legislation are Direct, Indirect and Consensus means of selecting candidates by political parties.
The amendment followed a motion for its re-committal to the Committee of the Whole which was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi.
According to Abdullahi, the concern of the President on the Bill was the provision of only the direct primary for political parties in choosing their candidates.
Senator Abdullahi noted that the rational for withholding assent bordered on his observation in Clause 84, citing insecurity, the cost of conducting direct primaries and infringement on the rights of Nigerians to participate in governance as reasons.
Senator Abdullahi, however, explained that the motion for re-committal of the bill to the Committee on the Whole was against the backdrop of the need to address the observation by the President and make necessary amendments in accordance with Order 87 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022.
Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the affected Clause of the Bill as passed and recommit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.
In his remark, the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan said, the amendment to the controversial clause is to allow Nigerians to enjoy their franchise without being hindered in democratic process participation. He also clarified that the position of the Red Chamber is to clean up the Bill to include the new options.
Recall that while Nigerians were expecting President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Bill into law or communicate to the National Assembly before or on November 19, 2021, which was the stipulated time by law for the president to act, there was no communication until December 21, 2021 when the Senate officially received and read the President’s communication rejecting the electoral bill.