Despite the ongoing debate among Nigerian intellectuals and pro-democracy activists over the Electoral Amendment Bill’s passage and assent, the Inter-Party Advisory Council, a pressure group of the 18 registered political parties, issued a statement on Monday advising against it.
Nigeria does not yet have the political maturity to take off in the 2023 general election, according to the organization, which also stated that the country is not ready for the direct primary election model in the selection of political party flag bearers.
Yabagi Yusuf Sani, the national chairman of IPAC, stated this in Abuja during his first press briefing on national issues after taking office.
“We are of the opinion that, much as we may cherish its perceived benefits, the country, at its core,” he said.
He said, “We are of the view that, much as we may cherish its perceived benefits, the country, at this stage of the progress of its democracy, does not appear to be sufficiently ripe and prepared for the direct primary election model in the selection of political party flag bearers.
“Also, against the backdrop of the President’s decisive aversion to this particular provision of the Electoral Bill, the use of veto by the legislature may merely result in a fruitless exercise if at the end of the day, its implementation is not supported by the required funding by the executive.
“In summary, if we must call a spade by its name, we in the IPAC are inclined to the opinions that regard the National Assembly’s position on indirect primaries as amounting to an attempt to usurp the constitutional rights of parties as to the method of choice of party flag bearers.
“The National Assembly members may have acted as interlopers by trying to run political parties from the hallowed chambers because, objectively in the context of international practices primaries elections cannot be legislated upon, and are best left to the discretion of the political parties.”
In response to the ongoing impasse between the Legislature and the Executive over the 2021 Electoral Bill, he praised the National Assembly for its courage, dedication, and patriotism in passing a Bill that had been widely hailed as groundbreaking and transformative in the history of the nation’s legislative chambers.
“For once, we saw our representatives disregarding partisan differences in favour of superior national interest. We saw our lawmakers stood up in a spirited battle in the course of democracy even in the face of intimidation and blackmail.