The House of Representatives has resolved to probe the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and political parties over the just-concluded primaries, held for the nomination of candidates for the 2019 general election.
The lawmakers decided on a motion entitled “Lack of internal democracy in the conduct of party primaries towards 2019 elections,” moved by Adamu Chika, under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, as contained in the House Rules, at yesterday’s plenary.
At the session, lawmakers accused governors and the leadership of the major political parties of manipulating the nomination processes to favour their preferred candidates.
They argued that the nation’s democracy may be endangered if the National Assembly does not take urgent step to halt flagrant breach of the Electoral Act, especially as it concerns conduct of party primaries.
Several House members lost out in the nomination process in their various political parties in the primaries, with Speaker Yakubu Dogara stating, recently, that the outcome of the primaries does not indicate that democracy is growing in the country.
At the end of debate on the motion, the chamber resolved to set up an Ad-hoc committee to probe INEC and political parties over the outcome of the primaries.
The committee is expected to investigate alleged violation of the Electoral Act by political parties in the nomination processes, allegedly in connivance with the electoral body, with a view to strengthening the electoral law and other relevant laws, so as to improve the electoral process in the country.
The committee, which is also expected to probe the incomes and expenditure of the major political parties in the country in line with section 226 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, has four weeks to report back to House for further legislative actions.
In the lead debate, Chika, who is from Niger, said the state is one of the states where powerbrokers in the All Progressives Congress (APC) denied aspirants party tickets for the 2019 general elections.
The lawmakers noted that some of the political parties “brazenly refused to hold primaries in contravention of section 87 (10) of the Electoral Act, which makes it mandatory for parties to hold primaries, which led to crisis in some state chapters of political parties.”
In his contribution, Musa Soba, from Kaduna, who defected from the APC said “the impunity in the ruling party is perpetuated by governors who believe everyone must dance to their tunes.”
On his part, a People’s Democratic Party lawmaker from Benue State, Mark Gbillah, said there is so much corruption in the political party system in the country and canvassed for independent candidacy.
“We are running a system of political party where from the grassroots corruption is entrenched.
“The onus now comes back to the National Assembly. What are we going to do to our political system?
“The responsibility for the National Assembly is about what we are going to do. Nigerians have never been provided with the opportunity to choose who it is that will represent them. Independent candidacy is the only solution,” he said.