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Gbajabiamila, others influenced NASS decision on direct primary for personal interest —Senator N’Allah

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The lawmaker representing Kebbi South Senatorial District, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, has opined that the decision of the National Assembly on mandatory direct primary in the Electoral Amendment Bill, may have been influenced by personal interests.

N’Allah said the provision for compulsory direct primary was included in the amendment at the last minute, hence was not thoroughly considered by the lawmakers.

He said, “the issue of direct primary came at the dying minute on the floor of the House of Representatives when they were considering the report of the committee of electoral matters. What it means is that it was never discussed or adopted by the committee of the House but that it came as an amendment allegedly because I don’t have the records, by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

The Senator who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday, alleged that the idea of compulsory direct primary was the idea of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, among a few other Lawmakers.

“We are hearing that that law (direct primary) was intended for an individual. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know but I must say and maintain that the process was not painstaking enough.

“And I have seen the Speaker doing whatever was humanly possible to defend that position. But what would prove me right is that in one breath, I heard the Speaker saying that because of the rate of return at the National Assembly, there was the need to protect the members of the National Assembly from the influence of governors, therefore the resort to direct primaries.

“Now, the catch there is that personal interest was allowed in the process. That is the catch because he particularly said the turnover of members is very disturbing and that there is the need to protect members of the National Assembly from the governors.

Read also: Gbajabiamila calls for review of educational requirements for President, governors, others

“In the first place, that argument will fall flat because it means that decision was taken to promote personal interest against the oath of office that we have taken as members of the National Assembly.”

N’Allah further argued that compelling political parties to limit their options to the direct mode primaries was against the spirit of a Supreme Court judgment which had given parties the power to run their affairs as they see fit.

By Oluwatobi Odeyinka…

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