The cost of conducting direct primaries by political parties informed the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari rejected the amendment electoral bill, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) says.

Last week, Mr Buhari declined assent to the legislation presented to him by the national assembly in November.

He said the direct primary clause, which involves the participation of all members of a political party in choosing its candidates for elective positions, is against the spirit of democracy.

Speaking on the development on Monday during a phone-in programme on Radio Kano, Mr Malami who doubles as Justice Minister said the drafted law is discriminatory.

- advertisement -

Justifying the rejection, the minister said lawmakers only considered the political gains of the bill which, according to him, is not in the overall interest of all Nigerians.

“The job of the president is that of politics, economy, business, security, legislations, politicians and non-politicians,” he stated. ”This is because the leadership of the country is not for the politicians alone, it is a leadership that affects social life of the people, their religion, economy, security, and others.

”He is after satisfying the interest of the over 200 million Nigerians he is serving and not a particular sector.

“This is contrary to the leadership of the legislators which is solely political.

”Today INEC requires N305 billion for the 2022 general elections. Now if the general election, which is not the newly proposed electoral system, will cost this much, how much will it cost to do the same election in the APC? It might cost at least N200 billion because it will involve everyone.

”Although the good side of the law is that INEC is required to monitor it.

“Therefore if it is assumed that every political party will spend N200 billion, how much will then be spent in conducting the same primary election in 18 political parties just to produce a qualified candidate?

”Let’s assume there are about 60 million politicians in the country, what about the remaining over 160 million Nigerians who have nothing to do with politics? Are you fair to them?

”All the people want are good projects, good road from Abuja to Kano, portable drinking water, good education, school feeding programme and the rest of them.

“Are you fair to the 160 million Nigerians using their wealth just to conduct primary election to produce a party candidate, despite other demands by the public?

“My answer to this is that to spend this N305 billion that will be given to the INEC and the about N200 billion to be given to the political parties is not fair to the remaining 160 million Nigerians who have no business about politics and political appointments.

”Their business is just a better life in Nigeria. This is the issue of cost implications,” he added.

- advertisement -