A frontline aspirant for the national chairmanship position of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Saliu Mustapha, has commended the National Assembly for heeding to President Muhammadu Buhari’s suggestion that a single mode of primaries should not be forced on political parties in the Electoral Act (Amendment Bill) 2021.
He, however, urged the federal lawmakers to move fast to harmonise their positions in order for the proposed legislation to be passed as soon as possible.
Mustapha, in a statement issued by his media aide, Dapo Okubanjo, said although the Senate and the House of Representatives have different views on possible options, it was a thing of joy that the federal lawmakers added more choices of mode of primaries, rather than attempt to override the President’s veto.
“For several weeks, the main issue in the polity had been President Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the electoral act amendment bill of 2021 on the grounds of insecurity and cost of conducting direct primaries with many stakeholders having their say on the matter.
“Only a few days ago, governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even urged the National Assembly to override the President’s veto but I am glad that the legislators have agreed on the need to expand the options to include indirect primaries and consensus, on the part of the Senate.
“Like I said in previous interactions with the media, political parties should be allowed to determine the mode of primates that will further their quest to win elections and this is exactly what it means by providing those options rather than foist one on everyone,” he said.
He added that although the two chambers have yet to harmonise their positions, the present state of affairs was a step away from what many thought was going to be a major political row between the executive arm of government and the legislature.
“So I have nothing but accolades for the leadership of the two legislative chambers as well as the members,” he added.
The Turaki of Ilorin also urged the National Assembly to move fast to harmonise their position on the contentious clause 84 of the Electoral Bill 2021.
Mustapha said: “Now that the Senate and the House of Representatives have completed work on it with divergent bills, the next step is to have a unified one so I’m urging the leadership to expedite action on setting up a conference committee.
“This is because of time factor as well as the need to wrap up the electoral act amendment bill as soon as possible.”
He added that the manner the National Assembly acted on the President’s observation showed that the two chambers are peopled by those committed to nation building.