Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, has called on the National Assembly and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to pass the electoral bill so that INEC can hit the ground running towards the 2023 elections.
Jega made this known at the Citizens Town Hall Meeting organised by Yiaga Africa, on Sunday.
Jega asserted that “the bill contains quite a lot of good interventions” and the issue of direct or indirect primaries should not be made to deter the electoral process.
He lamented that the commission has a short period to put a lot of its mechanisms together for the conduct of the elections.
He said, “Give INEC the law to begin the preparations for the 2023 elections. INEC made 36 recommendations in the new electoral bill. National Assemble adopted 25 and adopted 5 with some adjustments.
“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 armstrung the electoral process.”
Jega also noted that members of the National Assembly “perceive or know for a fact that governors manipulate indirect primaries,” and are looking for a way to liberate the primaries.
He however lamented that direct primaries may also be problematic because of the loopholes within the system.
“Which of the parties have a clear register of numbers. Any governor that has the capacity to manipulate direct primaries has the capacity yo do for indirect primaries.
“The challenge is how do you ensure that members of parties are properly registered. Governor can only manipulate the delgeate list but with a faulty register there will be room for manipulation even in direct primaries,” he said.