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Representatives Invite Yakub Mahmood to Discuss the Cost of Direct Primary Elections.

Representatives Invite Yakub Mahmood to Discuss the Cost of Direct Primary Elections.



Representatives Invite Yakub Mahmood to Discuss the Cost of Direct Primary Elections.

FastNews reports that on Thursday, the House of Representatives invited the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Yakub Mahmood, to brief it on the actual cost of monitoring political party direct primary elections.

Essentially, Mahmood will work with the House Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation to consider the cost in the 2022 Appropriation Act, which is still pending in the National Assembly.

The meeting was called to ensure that the youths, grassroots, and majority of party members are not excluded from political processes, as is already planned by the new electoral bill that is awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature.

It will be recalled that INEC had raised concerns on the financial implications in deploying their staff to monitor the primaries, whenever and wherever they will occur nationwide.

The outcome of the meeting will largely determine the feasibility or otherwise of the new electoral system.

Considering a motion titled “Urgent Need to Invite the INEC Chairman to Brief the House Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation on the Actual Cost of Direct Primaries for Possible Consideration in the 2022 Budget”, moved by Leke Abejide at the plenary.

Presenting the motion, Abejide recalled that the Electoral Bill has been passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly, waiting for Presidential assent to become law.

He said: “The Bill is very critical to the sustainability of our democracy as the aspect of direct primaries will open up the political space for the youths and largely the members of all political parties to participate in all electoral processes starting from primary elections to the general elections.

“Countless complaints of the cost implications of direct primaries but the benefits to my mind outweighed the cost implications.

“However, it is pertinent to give the opportunity to Chairman, Independent Electoral Matters Commission (INEC) to interface with both Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation in order for the Nation to know what will cost the country through INEC in order to put to rest the insinuations of different figures flying around that is so humongous to undertake direct primaries which may not be correct after all.

“We are all aware of the importance of direct primary and how it will transfer power to the real people, where they will be able to select or elect the people that will represent them from the presidency down to the councillorship.

“And there has been a lot of noise about the cost implications. People have been saying that it will gulp N500bn, but this is just hearsay, as nobody has ever sat down to check the actual cost of what it is going to cost the nation.

“It may be something that is within the capacity of the budget of INEC or something that we can even appropriate for in this period that we are still considering this budget.

“So, it is important for us to invite the Chairman of INEC to meet with the Committees on INEC in this hallowed chamber, and that on Appropriations, for him to be able to tell them what is going to cost to do this direct primary.”

The motion, which received the overwhelming support of the House, was later adopted.

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