The House of Representatives has invited the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to explain the cost implication of conducting direct primaries by political parties in the country.

The resolution of the House was sequel to a motion of urgent public importance moved at the plenary on Thursday in Abuja by the lawmaker representing Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopa-Muro Federal Constituency of Kogi State, Hon. Leke Abejide.

Moving the motion, Abejide pointed out the speculation making the rounds that it would cost over N500 billion for political parties to conduct direct primaries ahead of the 2023 general election.

The cost implication is believed would decide the fate of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, still pending before President Muhammadu Buhari.

The bill, which is still awaiting the president’s assent captured direct primaries as the mode of choosing the candidates of political parties for elections.

Abejide stressed that with INEC as the body supervising both the primaries of political parties and the main elections, Yakubu would be the appropriate official to clear the air on the cost implications of direct primaries.

“We all know the importance of direct primaries. Some people say it will cost N500 billion. This is mere speculation because the cost of direct primaries may be within the budget of INEC,” he said.

Abejide pointed out that the best time to invite Yakubu would be now that the 2022 budget was still pending before the National Assembly and stressed that it would help the legislature to decide on appropriate budgeting.

The INEC Chairman is to appear before the House Committees on Appropriations and Electoral Matters to speak on the matter.

The Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, while giving his directive after the motion was passed, said, “Committees on INEC and Appropriation, please invite the INEC chairman so that he can give us the possible cost implications of direct primaries.”

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