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Political Parties Are Empowered To Conduct Primaries, Says INEC

Mr Festus Okoye was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday said political parties are backed by law to conduct primary elections.

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Committee, Festus Okoye, stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.

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“The conduct of primaries is within the domestic realm of the various political parties,” he said while making reference to Section 87 of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

“But the only thing Section 87 makes clear is that in conducting their party primaries, the various political parties must be democratic and also conform to internal democratic principles within their own framework”.

Okoye also reacted to the recent passage of the electronic transmission of election results by the Senate chamber of the National Assembly.

While noting that the issue was in view, the INEC official said the Conference Committee would have to meet before sending the bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.

READ ALSO: Senate Bows To Pressure, Gives INEC Sole Power On Transmission Of Results

He explained that once the bill has been signed, it becomes binding on the electoral umpire for implementation in future elections.

“When you have direct primaries and you say the commission must monitor all the direct primaries of the political parties, the implication is that if the political parties are organising their primaries in every ward, the commission must deploy to over 8,809 registration areas to go and monitor the primaries of these political parties.

“That is huge resources in terms of the personnel that will be deployed and also in terms of cost involved. But the moment the law is passed, the commission will not have challenges in obeying the law,” Okoye added.

His remarks come a day after the Senate bowed to pressure and gave INEC the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results.

This followed the reversal of the Senate’s earlier decision that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting.”

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