A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to pass the electoral bill so that the electoral body can prepare for the 2023 general elections.

He made the call on Sunday during the Citizens Town Hall Meeting organised by Yiaga Africa.

Chairman Jega, of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC)

Jega stated 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 further lamented that the commission had 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 Assembly adopted 25 and adopted five 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 arm string 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.

He added, “Which of the parties have a clear register of numbers. Any governor that has the capacity to manipulate direct primaries has the capacity to do for indirect primaries.

“The challenge is how do you ensure that members of parties are properly registered. Governor can only manipulate the delegate list but with a faulty register there will be room for manipulation even in direct primaries.”

 

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