Fresh Controversy Hits Electoral Bill Over Consensus Option Introduced By Senate

FRESH controversy has hit the Electoral Act Amendment Bill as civil society organisations (CSOs) have rejected the consensus option introduced by the Senate just as governors are asking the House of Representatives to adopt the method (consensus) as one of the means through which political parties can select candidates for elections, a report by ICIR says.

Consensus is one the three options introduced in the re-amended Electoral Act Amendment Bill which the Senate passed on January 19.

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent to the electoral bill, a development which he blamed on the inclusion of a provision which mandated political parties to adopt the direct primary method in selecting candidates for election, the National Assembly decided to review the proposed legislation.

The Senate amended Clause 84(2) of the bill, expunging the contentious provision that compelled the political parties to adopt direct primaries.

In its place, the upper legislative chamber provided three options for the political parties – direct primary model, indirect primary model and consensus.

The move is aimed at ensuring that Buhari finally assents to the electoral bill when the National Assembly returns it to him.

Buhari had observed that the electoral bill should provide options for the political parties, rather than impose the direct primary method on them.

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