A popular Nigerian Senator, Bala Ibn Na’Allah has claimed that the compulsory direct primary mode of election in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill was inserted “to favour someone”.
The lawmaker representing Kebbi South Senatorial District in the National Assembly made the claim during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.
Na’Allah insinuated that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, introduced the direct primary into the electoral bill to favour the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air force said that during the discussions at the committee level, the issue of direct primaries was not discussed, wondering why Gbajabiamila introduced the controversial clause.
He said: “We are hearing that that law (direct primary) was intended for an individual. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know but I must say and maintain that the process was not painstaking enough.
“The issue of direct primary came at the dying minute on the floor of the House of Representatives when they were considering the report of the committee of electoral matters. What it means is that it was never discussed or adopted by the committee of the House but that it came as an amendment allegedly because I don’t have the records, by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
Na’Allah slammed Gbajabiamila for saying that the direct primary mode had become necessary in order to protect federal lawmakers from overbearing governors.
The lawmaker stated that the Speaker’s argument showed that the inclusion of the direct primary mode was done for personal reasons.
He added: “And I have seen the Speaker doing whatever was humanly possible to defend that position. But what would prove me right is that in one breath, I heard the Speaker saying that because of the rate of return at the National Assembly, there was the need to protect the members of the National Assembly from the influence of governors, therefore the resort to direct primaries.
“Now, the catch there is that personal interest was allowed in the process. That is the catch because he particularly said the turnover of members is very disturbing and that there is the need to protect members of the National Assembly from the governors.
“In the first place, that argument will fall flat because it means that decision was taken to promote personal interest against the oath of office that we have taken as members of the National Assembly.”
Naija News reports that the National Assembly has removed the compulsory direct primary mode for the election of candidates in political parties from the electoral bill.
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