Senator Ajibola Basiru, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, has described the reasons given by President Muhammadu Buhari in rejecting the Electoral Act Amendment Bill over the mandatory adoption of direct primary as fallacious.
Basiru said this in an interview on Tuesday while reacting to President Buhari’s withholding of his assent to the bill.
President Buhari had on Monday told the National Assembly via a letter that he declined assent to the bill because of direct primaries, which was made the mandatory mode of primaries for political parties to adopt.
According to the president, foistering direct primaries would be a violation of the rights of political parties and their members, increase the cost occurred by political parties, lead to security challenges and lead to litigation.
Reacting, Basiru said the option of discarding the bill in its entirety cannot be a “compelling reason” for the National Assembly.
The Senate spokesperson said the reasons adduced by the president were wrong, nothing that the explanations given were tantamount to the country not holding elections as scheduled due to the challenges it is currently facing.
He noted that the National Assembly can explore four options following the rejection of the bill.
“Those are the four options before the national assembly. And I believe the national assembly, at the fullest of time, will be able to take those options,” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“It is very important to say that as members of the national assembly, we are approaching this issue not out of any sense of egotism or any sense of power tussle with anybody.
“But we will consider it based on counter-arguments that may be canvassed against whatever reasons the president had given.
“For instance, the argument on the cost that had been raised by Mr President, with respect, is presumptuous and totally fallacious. There is nothing that is given that primary election must be conducted on a ward basis; it could as well be conducted either on a quarterly basis or on a local government basis.
“As regards argument on smaller political parties, smaller political parties may decide to even organise their direct primary at the state level.
“On the issue of security, an extension of that argument will be that because we have security challenges, then we should not even hold the 2023 elections; this is if we want to use what logicians called reductio ad absurdum, that is reducing the argument to the level of absurdity.”
He added: “We would consider those rational (reasons) adduced, counter-arguments that may be canvassed against whatever reasons the President has given. For instance, the argument on the cost that has been raised by Mr President with respect is presumptuous and totally fallacious.
“There is nothing that says the primary election must be conducted on a ward basis, it could be conducted either on a quarterly basis or local government basis. As regards the argument on smaller political parties, they may decide to organise their own at the state level. On the issue of security an extension of that argument would be that because we have security challenges then we should not even hold the 2023 election.”