From Fred Itua, Abuja
One month after President Muhammadu Buhari rejected the 2021 Electoral Amendment Bill, over the removal of indirect primaries, the Senate, yesterday, passed an amended version with the inclusion of direct, indirect and consensus mode of electing candidates by political parties for elective positions in the 2023 general elections..
This came as the House of Representatives reintroduced the Bill and approved direct and indirect primaries.
Citing the humongous cost of conducting direct primary by the various political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Buhari, in December, 2021, vetoed the Amendment Bill.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, had at the plenary, on Tuesday, said the House would revisit the rejected Bill and do the needful because of its importance to the 2023 general elections.Consequently, the Bill was reintroduced at the Plenary, yesterday.
Shortly after the bill was passed afresh, he explained that apart from Section 84(2), which deals with mode of primaries, nothing else was changed in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which was first passed in November 2021.
Earlier, the House had adopted a motion by the chairman of Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, for the recommittal of the bill to Committee of the Whole, to enable the parliament tinker with the proposed legislation, in line with the observation raised by President Buhari.
However, immediately the bill was passed, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member from Rivers State, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, raised an observation that clause 4(A), which stipulates that political parties would hold special convention across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) where delegates would vote for their preferred president was still retained in the bill. He said he was suspicious that the clause was intended to scuttle the signing of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by President Buhari. Consequently, he demanded that all the clauses should be taken one after the day to enable members make input.
Nevertheless, the House spokesman, Benjamin Kalu, at a press briefing, explained that the House rules does not permit it to dabble into other parts of the bill other than parts pointed out by the president.