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Governors’ position on direct primaries unpopular, conflicts with interest of Nigerians —CSOs

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Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have slammed state governors who are opposing certain amendments in the Electoral Bill, especially the provision for direct primaries, saying the governors’ interest should not override public interest.

The organisations described the position of some governors on the mode of primary and other items in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill as “unpopular and narrow,” stating that the governors cannot dictate to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The CSOs stated this in a joint statement on Sunday, titled, ‘Electoral Act: Governors cannot dictate to Buhari,’ signed by the Executive Director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, and endorsed by the Centre for Liberty, Raising New Voices, Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative, The Nigerian Alliance, The Art and Civics Table and Speak Out Africa Initiative.

The groups observed that since the President could not dictate to the governors what they do with bills passed at the state level, it was also his prerogative to sign the Electoral Bill into law based on popular demand.

The CSOs also urged the governors not to obstruct the popular will of Nigerians on the bill, but concentrate on rebuilding their parties, ensuring internal reforms, digitisation of membership registration and dues payments.

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The statement read in part, “The position of some of our governors on the new Electoral Act Amendment Bill is unpopular and narrow, and it conflicts with the public interest of Nigerians.

“Our governors should not serve as obstacles or constitute an impediment to the signing of the new Electoral Bill because it has substantially met the expectations of Nigerians.

“It is the prerogative of Mr President to sign the bill and make history, and it is not in the public interest for the governors to ask him not to sign it.

“The President has a glorious opportunity to take a popular action, etch his name in gold and side with the people by signing the bill into law.”

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