Political parties across the country would henceforth elect candidates seeking public office through direct primaries.

This follows an amendment to the Electoral Act which was introduced by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamilia on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Rep Gbajabiamilia representing Surulere  had earlier yielded the seat of Speaker to his deputy  in order to move the amendment to clause 87 from the floor.

The lawmaker prayed the House to delete the word “indirect” from  section 87 which deals with the organisation of primaries  by political parties.

This means that henceforth, persons seeking public offices would be elected at the party level by all registered members of their political platforms.

Until the latest amendment, the direct and indirect modes of candidate selection have been recognized by party constitutions as possible options.

Given the alteration of clause 87, it would be compulsory henceforth to elect party candidates through direct means.
Most political parties in the country have favoured the indirect mode because it is less expensive and less stressful.

Also today, the House took a similar position to that of the Senate on electronic transmission of election results.

It said the concurrence of the National Communications Commission would be required before INEC could embark on the electronic transfer of results.

Earlier, the House of Representatives heard that Nigeria is yet to enjoy full telecom coverage despite the presence of orbiting Satellites within Nigeria’s airspace..

This revelation was made by a team of experts from the National Communications Commission who testified before federal lawmakers.

Hon Kingsley Chindah representing Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency in Rivers State had  put questions across to the NCC team.

Chindah asked for clarifications on  satellite transmissions within Nigeria’s airspace, the nation’s telecoms coverage and its relevance to the electronic transfer of results. 

According to the experts, the findings of a study conducted by the Commission which was presented to the House Friday showed that all parts of the country are not fully covered by telecom services.

Out of the 119,000 wards captured by INEC, only 50% of the total wards in the country enjoy effective 2G and 3G coverage.

The study shows that the remaining 49% is not effectively covered by 2G and 3G technology.

4G technology is relatively new in the country and the experts who appeared before the House did not present further statistics to buttress its effectiveness as a medium of transmission.

Thereafter, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamilia who presided over the session yielded his seat to Deputy Speaker Wase to guide the House through a clause by clause passage of the bill.

Chants of “carried” rent the air as the Deputy Speaker took the House through the approval of various clauses.

Ndudi Elumelu, Minority Leader attempted to reopen a freah debate on clause 52 of the Electoral Act, but was reminded by Wase who chaired the House Committee of the whole that a vote had been taken on the subject.

Elumelu led a workout of PDP lawmakers at that stage while the House  continued with its deliberations.

Given the level of cross carpeting that has taken place, the APC already has two-thirds of members on the floor.