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2023: Gbajabiamila meets Buhari, seeks support for direct primaries

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Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to support direct primaries by political parties ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The two chambers of the national assembly had approved the conference committee report on the electoral act amendment bill, which recommends that all political parties must adopt the direct primary mode.

The provision was made after the upper legislative chamber reconsidered four clauses in the electoral act amendment bill.

Speaking with journalists, on Thursday, when he met with Buhari, the speaker also asked the president to sign the recently passed electoral amendment bill into law.

“Are you not aware that the national assembly has passed the issue of direct primaries and electronic transmission of election results? That is the position of national assembly. It has passed both houses,” Gbajabiamila said.

“Very good, hopefully, we get the bill transmitted now that he is back very soon. We are hopeful it will become law and Nigerians will be better for it.”

Speaking on the reservations that direct primaries may be expensive for political parties to conduct, the speaker said, “I have heard that argument about cost and this is what I have to say. Do you put a price tag to democracy? I don’t think you should. What is too much and what is too little to buy freedom and democracy? I don’t think you should put a price tag to it. So, how much will be okay for him? He should tell us how much will be okay for him.

“The president is happy. He will look at all the issues we have brought to his attention. We talked about the electoral act amendment. We talked about agricultural development and other issues. All of the issues, the president will look at them.

“The official position of the house of representatives and the senate, we are for direct primaries. We are for empowering the people at the grassroots level. Let everybody participate in governance.

“Democracy is defined as government of the people, for the people and by the people. People is used three times in that definition. And it doesn’t start from general elections. It starts from primaries. So, we have made it very clear abundantly.”

The speaker expressed optimism that the president will support direct primaries because he is a “very popular man”.

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