‘I foresee chaos in the 2023 election’ – Demola Olarewaju

Political Analyst, Demola Olarewaju says the 2023 Nigerian general election might be the country’s worst ever poll.

According to Olarewaju, a top member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, “the complications introduced by Direct Primaries is a huge logistics problem for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and then their Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) problem”.

POLITICS NIGERIA recalls that INEC on Sunday said it may be forced to use serving members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to monitor political parties’ direct primaries across the country if President Muhammadu Buhari signs the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

This is because of the large number of personnel that will be needed to monitor the direct primaries across the 8,809 awards in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Per Punch, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed this.

Okoye said it would be premature to speculate since Buhari had not yet signed the bill. He also said certain factors would be considered.

He admitted that the staff requirements for primaries would “change if the President assents to the bill.”

The INEC spokesman said some political parties might consider conducting primaries at the ward level, while others might use the local governments or senatorial districts as the criteria for primaries.

The National Assembly had last week passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which makes it compulsory for all political parties to conduct their primaries using the direct method.

The PDP and the governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected the provision for direct primaries, while the National Assembly remains adamant.

The bill is expected to be transmitted to Buhari this week for assent. However, governors have begun making moves to ensure that he does not sign it.

But the House of Representatives and some senators have threatened to veto the President if he fails to sign the bill within 30 days.

Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had said last week that many of the National Assembly members believed the best way for them to win re-election was by the direct primary method, which would not be easily manipulated by their state governors. Now, Olarewaju, a writer with a background in Nigeria’s political history, has waded in.

“It’s a time-bomb honestly, INEC itself has said it lacks the capacity to monitor/conduct Direct Primaries – that thing is like conducting a full general election if done properly or simply accepting rigged numbers from parties.

“I foresee chaos in the 2023 election,” he wrote on his known Twitter handle on Friday.

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