The House of Representatives, has invited the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to appear before its Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation and brief lawmakers on the cost implications of conducting direct primaries by political parties in the country, estimated at N500 billion.
The National Assembly in the recently passed Electoral Act Amendment Bill, awaiting President Muhamadu Buhari’s assent, made provision for the compulsory conduct of direct primaries which has been subject of concern by stakeholders, especially the Governors.
The House of Representatives at plenary on Thursday, demanded clarification from the electoral body on logistics implications of the provision with the view of not shutting out youths, people at the grassroots and majority of party members from political processes.
The House resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by the lawmaker, representing Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopa-Muro Federal Constituency of Kogi State, Leke Abejide.
Leading debate on the motion, Abejide called attention to the speculation making the rounds that it would cost over N500bn for political parties to conduct direct primaries ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said as the umpire supervising both the primaries of political parties and the main elections, the INEC Chairman would be the appropriate official to clear the air on the cost implications of direct primaries.
The lawmaker said: “The Bill is very critical to the sustainability of our democracy as the aspect of direct primaries will open up the Political space for the youths and largely the members of all Political Parties to participate in all electoral processes starting from primary elections to the general elections.
“Cognizant of countless complaints of the cost implications of direct primaries but the benefits to my mind outweighed the cost implications. However, it is pertinent to give opportunity to Chairman, Independent Electoral Matters Commission (INEC) to interface with both Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation in order for the Nation to know what will cost the country through INEC in order to put to rest the insinuations of different figures flying around that is so humongous to undertake direct primaries which may not be correct after all.”
Confusion as security operatives exchange blows during Buhari’s Kaduna visit
There was confusion when security agents exchanged blows while President Muhammadu Buhari was commissioning Kawo bridge in the heart of Kaduna state, city, on Thursday.
President Buhari arrived in Kaduna State to commission projects executed by the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
The projects are in Kafanchan, Kaduna and Zaria.
Shortly after his return from Kafacnchan, the President commissioned the Kawo bridge.
However, an altercation among security operatives attached to the President and those based in Kaduna resulted in exchange of blows.
Trouble started when some operatives of the Department of State Services blocked the road to Kawo bridge soon after the President who mounted the bridge.
Governor El-Rufai, who had earlier alighted from his vehicle, rode in the President’s convoy to the bridge.
The security agents, who barred journalists and other dignitaries from accessing Kawo bridge, blocked the road after El-Rufai and the President were on the bridge.
However, El-Rufai’s Aide-De-Camp insisted that the governor’s official vehicle must be allowed access.
Daily Trust reports that the President’s security aides stood their ground and this resulted in not just an altercation but exchange of blows.
Eventually, the governor’s vehicle was given access.
Two die, five injured as truck crushes motorcycle in Cross River
The Federal Road Safety Corps has confirmed the death of two persons in an accident in the early hours of Thursday in Nko community, Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The Public Education Officer of the Corps in Cross River State, Mark Ajuka, confirmed the death of the victims in an interview.
Ajuka, a Superintendent Route Commander, told the News Agency of Nigeria that five persons were also injured in the crash that involved a truck and a motorcycle.
He said that investigation revealed that the crash was caused by a brake failure from the truck driver.
He said: “The accident occurred early this morning in Nko community, Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River.
“The deceased have been evacuated from the scene of the crash, while those injured were taken to the General Hospital in Ugep for treatment.”
An eyewitness, James Eteng, told the NAN that the tragic incident occurred at St. Pius Primary School in Nko community.
“Today is a black Thursday for us in Nko community.
“We have lost a son and a daughter in an accident that occurred this morning.
“As we speak, the whole community is in mourning mood, we can only console with the family to bear the irreparable loss.”