The refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amendment to section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, sent to him by the National Assembly recently poses a major threat to the primaries of the political parties participating in the 2023 general elections, especially the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the amendment to the Act to recognise statutory delegates which include elected councilors, local government chairmen and their deputies, party chairmen in local government areas, state and federal lawmakers (current and former), governors and their deputies, president and vice president, National Working Committee members, state party chairmen and secretaries as voters during primaries, congresses and conventions of all the political parties.
However, with the president’s refusal to sign the amended Act, only democratically elected delegates will be able to vote at the primaries as section 84 clearly stipulates that “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”
The PDP has already begun its primaries with the state Houses of Assembly and the House of Representatives elections which was held nationwide on Sunday while the Senatorial primaries will be held today.
The party’s governorship primary is fixed for May 26 while the presidential primary has been fixed for May 28 and May 29.
For the APC, the governorship and House of Representatives primary election exercise will hold on Thursday, May 26, Senate and House of Assembly primary elections are slated for Friday, May 27, while its presidential primary will hold on May 29.
Speaking with Daily Independent on Sunday, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, Monday Ubani, said the failure of the president in signing the amended version of the Electoral Act will affect the outcome of the primaries if wrong delegates are allowed to vote.
“It will certainly affect the outcome of the primaries if wrong delegates are allowed to participate in the primaries, it will mar the process”, Ubani said.