The Presidential candidate of Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) in the 2019 election, Amb. Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies has applauded President Buhari and the Senate on the re-amendment and passing of 2021 Electoral Bill. She especially hails Buhari and the Senate on the approval of direct, indirect or consensus for party primaries , as procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties, for the various elective positions. The efforts and the final decisions are both commensurable and commendable and I say kudos to the Federal government and legislators, as well as congratulate Nigerians!
We would recall that in her New year Special Message to Nigerians, she has prayed that, God’s wisdom, knowledge and discretion continue to increase in us all, to enable us make proper and correct decisions to His glory in our nation, Nigeria. In the same message, she had noted that it was understandable that, President Muhammadu Buhari had withheld his assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, for certain cogent reasons; commending the president that, the bill is like a new baby and its placenta; and that the issue of direct primaries in the Bill needs to be re-visited before passing the bill.
Today, the Senate, on this Wednesday has re-amended the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, passed by the National Assembly on November 18, 2021. Accordingly, the chamber in Clause 84(2) of the report approved direct, indirect primaries or consensus as procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions. It also approved the recommended Clause 84(3) that “a political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the part.”
“Clause 84(4) further provides that “a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure outlined below; (a) In the case of nominations to the position of Presidential candidate, a political party shall, (i) hold special conventions in each of the 36 states of the federation and FCT, where delegates shall vote for each of the aspirants at designated centres in each State Capital on specified dates.” The clause provides that a National Convention shall be held for the ratification of the candidate with the highest number of votes.
“The amendment followed a motion for its re-commital to the Committee of the Whole. The motion was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North). The Senate Leader, in his presentation, recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had signified withholding his assent on the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2021 which was passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to the President on Thursday, 18th November, 2021. Senator Abdullahi noted that the rational for withholding assent bordered on his observation in Clause 84.
“President Buhari in the letter dated December 13, 2021, and address to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had explained that his decision to withhold assent to the electoral bill was informed by advice from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government after a thorough review. According to the President, signing the bill into law would have serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences on the country, particularly in view of Nigeria’s peculiarities. He added that it would also impact negatively on the rights of citizens to participate in government as constitutionally ensured.
“Senator Abdullahi, however, explained that the motion for re-commital of the bill to the Committee on the whole was against the backdrop of the “need to address the observation by Mr. President C-in-C and make necessary amendment in accordance with Order 87(c) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (as amended); and relying on order 1(b) and 52(6) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 ( as amended).” Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the affected Clause of the Bill as passed and recommit same to the Committee of the While for consideration and passage.
A direct primary is used when voters decide their party’s candidates. In an indirect primary, voters elect delegates who choose the party’s candidates at a nominating convention. Prof. Adesanya-Davies therefore commends the decision of the President on insisting on Indirect primaries by each party and the Senate’s approval of direct, indirect or consensus for party primaries, along with all other amendments in the 2021 Electoral Bill.
“We would recall that ahead of the 2019 elections, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) had endorsed the Presidential candidacy of Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies on the 8th day of June, in Port Harcourt. She was also honoured with an Award of Excellence in Service and Outstanding leadership; with the inscription “In recognition of her consistency, steadfastness, developmental strides, motherly disposition and mentorship towards the students community and society at large. Amb. Adesanya-Davies is the Country president of the United Nations Positive Livelihood Award Centre (UN-POLAC) Chair of the National executive Council and International Director.
Prof. Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies is re-positioning herself to contest for the exalted position of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria again in 2023, under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). She says, ”if the PDP could exercise the will power to adopt the Direct primaries for the presidential primaries, as amended as an option in the 2021 Electoral bill today, then, she would be advantaged to evolve and secure the ticket as the party’s flag bearer by the special grace of God.”