Presidential aspirant Moghalu backs direct primaries in electoral bill

Moghalu says Buhari should be considered an 'enemy of democracy' if he fails to sign the bill.

Kingsley Moghalu [Twitter/@MoghaluKingsley]

2023 presidential hopeful, Kingsley Moghalu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill as a sign of good faith to citizens.

A final version of the bill was passed last month by the National Assembly with high-stakes amendments including electronic transmission of election results, and mandatory direct primaries for political parties to elect candidates.

Moghalu, a 2019 presidential candidate, said in a series of tweets on Thursday, December 3, 2021 that Buhari should be considered an 'enemy of democracy' if he fails to sign the bill into law.

The former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reminded the president that he has no personal stakes in the upcoming general election, so delivering a transparent process for Nigerians should be an easy decision.

"I urge you to leave, at least, a legacy of facilitating a transparent democracy. That requires, at a minimum, transparent collation and transmission of results and, ideally, direct primaries in political parties," he posted.

The direct primaries provision in the bill has especially caused some division in political circles, and is strongly opposed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The party said last month it violates the constitutional rights of parties to determine internal processes.

The indirect primaries mode of nomination is the most commonly used in Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999.

It involves a small pool of elected delegates who elect party candidates. The process has been fraught with controversy for years, particularly criticised for how it's easy for anyone with influence in a party to buy and control delegates.

The direct mode involves all registered party members voting in the primary election, and has gained widespread acceptance within the All Progressives Congress (APC).

18 state chapters of the party used direct primaries to elect candidates for the 2019 general elections after they were allowed to pick between that or the indirect method that the other 18 chapters, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), choose.

President Buhari is yet to sign the bill and has been reported to be consulting all relevant agencies to reach a decision.

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