The former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, on Sunday told the National Assembly that overriding President Muhammadu Buhari over the Electoral Act amendment Bill is not the best option.
Jega said this on Sunday at the citizens’ townhall Electoral Bill 2021, organised by Yiaga Africa and partners.
According to him, the country will be better off if it goes into the next election with a new electoral law because it will enhance the integrity and the preparation of conduct of elections.
He said that the Bill contained quite a lot of good things that could enhance the integrity of the electoral process apart from issues of direct primaries because Nigeria has not had a substantive improvement on the electoral law since 2010.
“On direct primaries, clearly the electoral process will have better integrity if we do direct primaries appropriately, Members of the National Assembly know that governors manipulate the indirect primaries and think that if they move into direct primaries they will be able to free themselves from that kind of manipulation.
“However, we need to interrogate this situation very well, so my suggestion is to give INEC the law to begin preparation for the 2023 elections.
“The simplest way to do that is not to override the president but to drop the issue of direct primaries until we can ensure that parties can really hold direct primaries.
“ You cannot throw the baby away with the bath water, so let’s not because of the direct primary miss out on other good things in the law.
“This is so that we can have a law that can be assented to, so that INEC can prepare for the 2023 elections,’’ he said.
Jega urged the National Assembly to do the needful rather than contemplating overriding the President by removing the contentious provisions.