By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As political activities gather momentum ahead of the much anticipated 2023 general elections, the Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Wednesday, said mode of primaries should be optional for political parties.
Atoye spoke with Vanguard on the heels of Senate’s approval for political parties in Nigeria to adopt direct primaries to all elective positions.
According to him it is an unfair democratic practice for the Senate to approve and impose a single mode of primaries on political parties, and described it as tyranny of the majority at the National Assembly.
He said: “Globally, it is always the responsibility of the Election Management Board or the Electoral Commission to set the parameters for conducting fair and credible elections; in essence, it is proper to saddle Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, with the discretion and responsibility of transmitting results electronically in the Electoral Act.
“Save for the alteration to force a single mode of primaries on all the political parties; we are satisfied with the bill passed by the two houses of the National Assembly, most especially the decision of the Senate to reverse itself on the controversy of subjecting INEC to the NCC.
“It is an unfair democratic practice for the National Assembly, especially lawmakers from the ruling APC who demonstrated tyranny of the majority, to impose a single mode of primaries on all political parties ahead of major elections and without considering the electoral implications in intra-party activities.”
However, he (Atoye) accused the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, of having history of direct primaries fraught with irregularities.
“The history of direct primaries as practiced by the APC is fraught with irregularities, rigging and is capable of unsettling the democratic process. For example, how do you explain a process that gave Andy Ubah over 204,000 votes without anyone voting?” he queried.
Meanwhile, he said, “The two modes of primaries that have long been in the electoral act should be retained.”