Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to sign the amended Electoral Act because of the Direct Primaries Clause as captured by the National Assembly.
Governor Ortom made the commendation when he addressed newsmen at the Benue State Government House on Tuesday, December 21st, 2021.
He said the argument of President Buhari that political parties decide the mode of primaries is valid.
According to him, “I want to, first of all, appreciate the National Assembly for amending the Electoral Act to include direct transmission of results. I am particularly happy that the NASS listened to Nigerians and passed the Electronic Transmission of results.
“In the same manner, I appreciate the President for withholding assent on the Direct Primaries. I appeal that he also listens to Nigerians on the economy and security of the country,” the Governor stated.
The Governor also commended the NASS for passing the Amended Electoral Act, which also captured Electronic Transmission of results and transmitting same to the President for assent.
Meanwhile, this is contrary to the position of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who said that President Muhammadu Buhari does not have any excuse for not signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Wike had during an interview argued that contrary to claims that the President is holding back due to the dilemma over direct and indirect primaries as embedded in the bill, the main issue remains the electronic transmission of results.
Governor Ortom therefore appealed to President Buhari to listen to the views of Nigerians on the poor state of the economy and security in the country.
He then urged members of the National Assembly to also hasten the review of the clause on direct primaries to allow political parties to decide on the mode of primaries in accordance with their capabilities, stressing that consensus arrangements should also be encouraged.
President Buhari, in a letter to the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, raised concerns that the amendment as proposed “is a violation of the underlying spirit of democracy which is characterised by freedom of choices. Political party membership is a voluntary exercise of the Constitutional right of freedom of association.”
The President also said the amendment to allow for Direct Primaries “will lead to a plethora of litigations based on diverse grounds and issues of law.”