A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru, Jega, on Sunday warned on the danger of making direct primary compulsory for political parties in Nigeria.
Jega, who addressed participants at a Citizens Town Hall Meeting organised by Yiaga Africa in Lafia, Nasarawa, expressed doubt if any political party in the country has a comprehensive membership register.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to reach agreement on the electoral bill before the 2023 elections.
He said the state governors have the capacity to manipulate the electoral process regardless of the system adopted in the absence of substantive improvements in the electoral system.
The former INEC chief stressed the importance of having a new electoral law in place before the next year’s election.
Jega said: “Give INEC the law to begin the preparations for the 2023 elections. INEC made 36 recommendations in the new electoral bill. National Assembly adopted 25 and adopted five with some adjustments.
“I think that this country will be better off with a new electoral law which will enhance the preparation and conduct of the election.
“Since 2010 we have not had substantive improvements until now. We must ensure that this bill becomes law as soon as possible in order not to hamstring the electoral process.
“Which of the parties have a clear register of numbers. Any governor that has the capacity to manipulate direct primaries has the capacity to do for indirect primaries.
“The challenge is how do you ensure that members of parties are properly registered. Governor can only manipulate the delegate list but with a faulty register there will be room for manipulation even in direct primaries.”
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