Home » EXAMINING SECTION 84(8) OF THE ELECTORAL ACT, 2022 AND ITS CONSEQUENTIAL EFFECT ON PARTY PRIMARIES

EXAMINING SECTION 84(8) OF THE ELECTORAL ACT, 2022 AND ITS CONSEQUENTIAL EFFECT ON PARTY PRIMARIES

BY L. G Jamala, Esq

by True Blue Reporters

Prior to the coming into force the Electoral Act, 2022 and thereby heralding the beginning of a new electoral regime in the country, political parties were generally guided by its rules on the mode for the selection and or election of candidates seeking/aspiring political opportunities.

Thus, reliance was principally placed on the party’s constitution in deciding the nature, type and or mode of primary to be conducted for the sole purpose of electing its candidate for general elections.

While there exist, and a political party is at liberty to adopt any of the party’s constitutionally recognized modes, that is to say, Consensus, Indirect and Direct Primary options, political parties have over time (except in recent times where consensus seems to have gained relevance) opted for the indirect mode of congresses/primaries in the selection/election of its candidates for general elections.

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Hence, where a political party adopts the indirect mode of electing its candidate, the party’s constitution recognizes a delegate voting system wherein few party members elects, in lieu of the generality of the party members.

It is in this wise that the two leading political parties in their various constitutions enshrined what it christened “statutory delegates”.
By Article 12 of All Progressive Congress (APC) of 2022, members of the National Convention (herein after NEC) are principally, the summation of what statutory delegates entails.

By the said Article 12.1 of the APC constitution, member of the APC-NEC includes:
Members of the Board of Trustees.
National chairman and all members of the National Executive Committee.

Serving and past Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who are members of the party
Serving and past Governors and Deputy Governors of Sate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who are members of the party.

Serving and past members of the National Assembly who are members of the Party, serving and past serving, Deputy Speakers and other principal officers of the State of House of Assembly who are members of the party.

Members of the State Working Committee (including that of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja) of the party.
All Party Chairman and Secretaries of the Local Government Areas/Area Councils of the country.
All elected Local Government Council/Area Council Chairmen of the country who are members of the Party.

Three elected delegates (at least one of whom must be a woman) from each Local Government Area/Area Council of the Country.
By Article 13.1 of the said parties constitution, powers of the NEC amongst others includes
Elect the Presidential candidate of the party
See also for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chapter 4 Part X(1&5c) of the Party’s Constitution 2014 for similar provisions although with slight differences.

There appears to be a new twist with the coming into force the enacted Electoral Act of 2022.
Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (herein after the Act) provides.

“A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rule the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting”.

Section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022 generally is the guiding section with regards to nominations of candidates by parties.

The position of “Statutory delegates” although provided for in the various political parties’ constitution, it does appear to have seen abrogated by the clear wordings of S-84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

It is crystal clear that unless a Presidential assent is given to the amendment of the said section by the National Assembly. At present, a Political party that chooses the option of an indirect mode of primaries may only make do of the delegates elected at their various wards and that of the Local Governments for the purposes of the 2023 general elections.

It should be stated here that Rules of Political Parties are subservient to the Electoral Act, being an Act of parliament.

S. 84 of the electoral Act states the standard upon which political parties shall conduct its affairs where it intends, wishes or desires to sponsor a candidate for any general election.

The sad sweet reality as the political primaries begins is that, our ones glorified, magnified and exalted “Statutory Delegates” are now without the bargaining strength.

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