OrderPaperToday – Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Yakubu Mahmood has said the agency is not directly responsible for the financial burden of having direct or indirect primaries for political parties.
The chairman also disclosed that the Commission was still working on modalities concerning the financial implications involved in direct primaries.
Recall that the House had last Thursday invited the INEC Chairman to appear before its Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation and brief lawmakers on the cost implication of conducting direct primaries by political parties in the country, reportedly estimated at N500 billion.
However, the INEC Chairman, Yakubu told journalists after the meeting on Thursday that the engagement of the Commission in conduct of primaries, whether direct or indirect, was made known to the Committees.
He refused to divulge the contents of the letter INEC sent to the President as regards its position or advice on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the legislature and feigned ignorance when asked about the reported rejection of the proposed legislation by the President.
“We don’t know whether he rejected the bill or signed the bill,” he told journalists.
On the cost of conducting the primaries, Mahmood said INEC did not come up with any cost. “INEC did not come up with any cost for the conduct of primaries per political party by direct method. We have had very good discussions with the committee on Appropriation of the National Assembly pursuant to the resolution of the House and what we discussed you will not hear from me. May be, the chairman of the committee will tell you”, he said.
Mahmood also stated that Nigerians will be told the cost of conducting 2023 elections when the budget is passed.
“Once the budget is finalized you will hear”, he said.
On the cost of direct and indirect primaries, he said “this one you can discussed with the committee. The committee may wish to tell you.”
On what he told the President in the letter the electoral umpire wrote, Mahmood said “a letter was submitted to the President. I can’t divulge what I told the President.”
Speaking on the primaries of the political parties, Betera who quoted Mahmood said that the role of INEC in the process is minimal.
He said: “In our discussions with the INEC Chairman, we wanted to know his requirements for the 2023 elections as well as cost of direct or indirect primaries. On the primaries, when we discussed with him, he specifically told us the role of INEC in direct or indirect primaries which he said is just minimal.
“He said the responsibility lies with all the political parties. He said party primaries are the role of political parties and not INEC.
“For direct primaries, what the INEC Chairman told us is that only the political parties have the responsibility on primaries and the funding of the primaries.”