Fred Itua, Abuja
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has canvassed early and staggered primary elections as panacea for highly contentious nomination process in Nigeria’s electoral system.
Ekweremadu spoke yesterday during a webinar on “Electoral Reforms: National Assembly and the People’s Expectations” was organised by the Centre for Liberty, Abuja, in conjunction with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA.
The lawmaker, who steered electoral reforms between 2007 and 2019, observed that the very close proximity of primary elections to main elections had always increased desperation on the part of the political actors and compounded litigations and logistical problems for both the political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“In the United States of America (USA), presidential primaries begin about twelve months to the election, climaxing in the convention, where an already known candidate is affirmed.
“In Ghana, there is no stipulated timeframe for the nomination of candidates in the country’s electoral laws. Therefore, article 11 (2)(b) of the National Peoples Party, NPP, Constitution, for instance, stipulates that parliamentary candidates shall be elected at least 12 months before the National General Election, while Article 12 provides that the party’s primary election for the nomination of the presidential candidate shall be held not later than 24 months from the date of the national elections.
“The advantage is that we will not likely see court orders flying all over the place as is the case in Nigeria today because every litigation or contentious issue arising from the primary election would have been settled before the main election.”