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Reps to probe party primaries

The House of Representatives has resolved to raise an ad hoc committee to investigate the breach of the Electoral Act by some political parties in the conduct of their primary elections.

The House, yesterday, said the committee would also ascertain the income and expenditure of the major political parties in Nigeria in the last four years in line with Section 226 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

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This, the lawmakers argued, was to “prevent the National Assembly from becoming the assemblage of governors’ stooges in future.”

The resolution was pursuant to motion on notice by Chika Adamu (APC, Niger) on “lack of internal democracy in the conduct of party primaries for the 2019 elections.”

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Adamu, leading debate on the motion, expressed worry over the widespread reports of irregularities that marred the just concluded primary elections, alleging that many parties in some states failed to adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act and the Constitution.

“Some of the parties in many states brazenly refused to hold primaries in contravention of Section 87(10) of the Electoral Act which mandates all political parties to hold primaries.

“If legislative measures are not adopted to address this dangerous drift, the National Assembly may in the nearest future become the assemblage of governors’ stooges to the detriment of democracy and the electorate,” Adamu warned.

The lawmaker added that the act of selling nomination forms to aspirants at exorbitant prices even when party leaders had already anointed winners amounted to injustice and corruption.

He further expressed concern over situations where clear winners emerged in primaries but the results were altered other people made flag-bearers, thereby short-changing the democratic will of the people in violation of Section 87 of the Electoral Act.

He warned that the crises, litigations and violence generated by the primaries in various states might spill over into the tenure of the next government.

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