Electoral Bill: Don urges transparency on implementation

A Professor of International Law and Global Politics, Jehu Nnaji, says political parties in Nigeria need to be transparent to get the best out of the Electoral Bill currently undergoing amendments.

Nnaji gave the advice on Friday in Enugu in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu while reacting to the latest passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill by the National Assembly  (NASS).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari recently withheld his assent to the 2010 Electoral Amendment Bill passed by NASS.

Buhari hinged his withdrawal on the provision of direct primary as the only procedure for the selection of party candidates.

The president is of the view that the provision is undemocratic and also cited issues of insecurity and cost.

The president urged the NASS to provide other options for political parties to choose from.

Meanwhile, Nnaji said that the response of the NASS to suddenly reverse itself was disappointing and did not inspire confidence.

He said that direct primary promoted participatory democracy by involving every party member in the process of choosing their flag bearers.

“The 2010 Electoral Amendment Bill has been a topical issue on the lips of every democratic Nigerian.

“It is so important because the contents had recommended direct primaries as well as electronic transmission of results,” he said.

The visiting scholar, who is of the University of Kansas Law School, US, said that direct primaries would have a way of checkmating imposition of candidates by political godfathers.

He expressed displeasure on the latest amendment by the NASS which, he said, majority of Nigerians were not satisfied with.

“Now that the bill is amended to allow either direct or indirect primaries or consensus candidates.  Many Nigerians are of the view that the problem of imposition of candidates has yet to be eradicated.

“Therefore, this latest amendment by the NASS hangs the hope of Nigerians in the balance as there cannot be any certainty that the will of the people will prevail while selecting party candidates.

“Looking at the amended Bill and its successor Act, the electorate will watch with bated breath as to the ways the political parties will select their candidates,” he said.

Nnaji, however, called on political parties to be as transparent as possible during the primaries in order to make the best use of the document if signed into law. (NAN)