INEC speaks on opposition to direct primaries by some stakeholders

INEC speaks on opposition to direct primaries by some stakeholders

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday, December 1; spoke on the discussions over the mandate on direct primaries as contained in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

This was contained in a statement issued by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in response to a letter by President Muhammadu Buhari over the matter.

According to Okoye, the position of INEC was that it is the end-user of the electoral legal framework.

Speaking on the cost implications, Okoye said that it was rather unfortunate that the issue of the direct or indirect primary had overshadowed other fundamental issues in the bill.

The INEC Commissioner said, “However, it is difficult at this stage to speculate on the cost implications of direct primaries. As of today, the bill is inchoate until the President assents to it.

“It is the constitutional and legal responsibility of the commission to give effect to laws passed by the National Assembly.

“Moreover, direct primaries have been a feature of our electoral legal framework. The commission has monitored direct and indirect primaries organised by the different political parties. The commission does not dictate to political parties the mode of primaries to adopt.

“The new system of direct primary election proposed in the bill domiciles the conditions for the conduct of the primaries with the political parties. In other words, the procedure adopted for the direct primaries shall be spelled out in guidelines to be issued by the political party and filed with the commission at least 14 days before the primary election.”

Meanwhile, Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister, Communications and Digital Economy, has said that the protection of citizens data in Nigeria is not just secondary legislation but a constitutional requirement.

The minister’s spokesperson, Mrs Uwa Suleiman, made this known in a statement on Wednesday, December 1; in Abuja, adding that Pantami said this while addressing the world forum of ministers in London.

This year’s ministers’ Future Tech Forum is titled: “The Future of Trust in Data as a Force for Good.’’

He disclosed that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 was in full effect to build trust between the government; and the governed, with non-compliance attracting stiff penalties.

Also Read: #EndSARS: Points to note from White Paper issued by Lagos Govt

“Nigeria already has some policies in place to ensure the protection of citizens’ data; and to also build trust between government and citizens.

“There is also subsidiary legislation called the guidelines for processing personal data which gives impetus to the NDPR and assurance of confidentiality to citizens,” he said.

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