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CSOs: Political parties should merge primary elections to reduce cost

CSOs: Political parties should merge primary elections to reduce cost
December 07
12:31 2021

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have asked political parties to merge their primary elections to reduce cost.

The decision of the national assembly to adopt direct primary for political parties in the electoral bill has drawn strong opposition from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Some stakeholders have also raised concerns about the cost implication which is put at N500 billion.

In a statement issued on Monday by Ariyo-Dare Atoye, executive director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, and endorsed by Centre for Liberty, Raising New Voices, Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative (YSAD), The Nigerian Alliance, The Art and Civics Table and Speak Out Africa Initiative, the CSOs said there are alternatives that could “guide the thinking of those who want to buy into the ridiculous N500 billion projection”.

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The CSOs said political parties can reduce the number of days for primary election to reduce cost.

“We are not doing the work of INEC, but as stakeholders and partners who have been consistently involved in pushing for the passage and signing of the electoral bill, we owe the public and the nation a duty to dispel the rumour of N500 billion for direct primaries with alternative information,” the CSOs said.

“Our rough Projection on what INEC may be spending only on using NYSC members to monitor the direct primaries system could help to guide the thinking of those who have been deceived or may want to buy into the ridiculous figure in circulation.

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“Bear in mind that we do not expect that all the 18 political parties will have candidates for every position in the five categories of the general elections and will be able to conduct direct primaries in all the 8809 wards.

“By our rough estimates: at N30,000 each for 17,628 NYSC monitors, participating in five primaries of 18 political parties, it will cost 47,568,600,000;

“At N20,000 each for 17,628 NYSC monitors, participating in five primaries of 18 political parties, it will cost 31,712,400,000;

“At N10,000 each for 17,628 NYSC monitors, participating in five primaries of 18 political parties, it will cost 15,856,200,000.

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“By our observation, the two major parties (PDP & APC) may decide to merge their primaries and reduce it from five to two or three (just like the general elections that will be conducted on two separate dates).

“Also, we expect the other 16 smaller parties to continue their simple process of selecting candidates because of lack of presence in every ward and the logistics of doing so.

“We however concede that INEC is at liberty to deploy one monitor per ward in some cases because there is no major obligation for the commission to perform beyond the constitutional mandate of monitoring party primaries and congresses in this regard.”

The CSOs asked President Muhammadu Buhari “to ignore the rumours, scheming and distractions, and immediately sign the electoral bill 2021 as a legacy and birthday gift to Nigerians, especially the youths”.

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