Direct primaries: Reps invite INEC chairman over ‘N500bn’ cost implications



The House of Representatives has invited the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to clear the air on the cost implication of conducting direct primaries by political parties in the country.


This was after the lawmaker representing Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopa-Muro Federal Constituency of Kogi State, Rep. Leke Abejide moved a motion of urgent public importance on Thursday in Abuja during plenary.


Yakubu is to appear before the Committees on Appropriations and Electoral Matters to speak on the matter.


In the motion which was unanimously endorsed at the session presided over by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Abejide called attention to the speculation making the rounds that it would cost over N500billion for political parties to conduct direct primaries ahead of the 2023 general elections.


The cost implication is said to likely decide the fate of the Electoral Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2021 still pending before the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).


The bill captured direct primaries as the mode of choosing the candidates of political parties for elections.


He pointed out that INEC is in the best position to clear the air on the cost implication of direct primaries since it is the umpire supervising both the primaries of political parties and the main elections.


Abedeji added, “We all know the importance of direct primaries.


 “Some people say it will cost N500bn. This is mere speculation because the cost of direct primaries may be within the budget of INEC.”


He stated that the best time to invite Yakubu would be now that the 2022 budget was still pending before the National Assembly.


He explained that this would help the legislature to decide on appropriate budgeting.


Giving his directive after the motion was passed, Speaker Gbajabiamila said, “Committees on INEC and Appropriation, please invite the INEC chairman so that he can give us the possible cost implications of direct primaries.”

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