INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on Thursday held a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations on the controversial direct primaries clause in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will not fund party primaries, whether direct or indirect.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Muktar Batera, disclosed this to journalists after a meeting with Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, on Thursday in Abuja.
According to Mr Batera, the committee discussed INEC budget and the cost implications of direct primaries on the Commission.
He stated that INEC role in the process of primaries is minimal because political parties are in charge of primaries.
“In our discussions with the INEC Chairman, we wanted to know his requirements for the 2023 elections as well as the cost of direct or indirect primaries.
“On the primaries, when we discussed with him, he specifically told us the role of INEC in direct or indirect primaries which he said is just minimal. He said the responsibility lies with all the political parties. He said conducting primaries is the role of political parties and not INEC.
“For direct primaries, what the INEC Chairman told us is that only the political parties have the responsibility on primaries and the funding of the primaries,” he said.
Mr Yakubu, while speaking with journalists after the meeting, said the Commission is yet to give an estimate for the conduct of primaries. He also refused to divulge the content of his letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that Mr Buhari wrote a letter to INEC, requesting counsel on the controversial direct primaries.
The House had resolved that the Committees on Appropriations and Communications to interface with Mr Yakubu on the cost of direct primaries.
The resolution was a sequel to a motion moved last week by Leke Abejide.
The direct primaries clause in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill has created friction between the members of the National Assembly and the governors.
Direct primary election is the mode of the election where registered members of a party vote for who they want to be the candidate of their party.
The indirect primary election, on the other hand, involves the use of a delegate system. It is the delegates who decide who will be the candidate of the party.
The bill was transmitted to Mr Buhari after the two-chamber had adopted the harmonised report of the joint committee of the National Assembly.
The APC governors under the aegis of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), opposed the clause on direct primaries in the bill.
The Chairman of the forum, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, after the meeting of the governors, said the political parties should be allowed to decide on the mode of selection.
The cost of direct primaries has been the recurring argument against the bill. This paper had reported that INEC endorsed the direct primaries clause.