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Statutory Delegates: Parties condemn Reps’ Electoral Act section 84 amendment

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The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has condemned the House of Representatives’ passage of section 84 (8) of the Electoral Amendment Act, 2022, to allow statutory delegates participate in political parties’ congresses and conventions.

The legislators amended the clause after considering a bill sponsored by Abubakar Fulata, chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, at plenary on Wednesday.

The current version, assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in February, prevented statutory delegates from taking part in party’s primaries.

According to section 84 (8) of the Electoral Amendment Act, a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates will clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates.

IPAC chair in Lagos Olusegun Mobolaji explained that the amendment could be a good one if the motive is to deepen democracy.

“The statutory delegates now may have their ways of imposing whatever and whoever they want on every other person in the party. In a sane society and country where things are normal, we may say the amendment is fine,” said Mr Mobolaji.

He added that the statutory delegates were disallowed in the signed Electoral Act 2022 because the National Assembly wanted the people to be the full determinant of who rules them.

The IPAC Lagos chair also reasoned that the statutory delegates had always wanted to use their influence and affluence to subvert the will of ordinary members in the party in choosing best representatives.

Mr Mobolaji also mentioned that in developed democracies, statutory delegates were considered good because they might know the right persons to fly the party’s ticket more than ordinary people.

“I believe we should allow the people, masses in the parties to bring in who exactly they want to represent them so that they can be responsible for whoever is there,” noted Mr Mobolaji. “Now that statutory delegates are reconsidered, let them not use their money and influence to rob the people of right leadership.”

The statutory delegates include councillors, local government chairmen and their deputies, political party chairmen in all the 774 LGAs, state and federal lawmakers.

Others are governors, deputy governors, president, vice president, political parties’ national working committee members, state party chairmen and secretaries.

With this amendment, statutory delegates, in addition to the delegates elected by various political parties, are allowed at congresses and conventions to elect candidates for various political offices.

The Senate had on May 10, passed the same Act. 

(NAN)

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