Lawan signals plan to further amend Electoral Act

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has signalled plans to further amend the 2022 Electoral Act to strengthen observed weaknesses, and especially prepare the law ahead of the upcoming 2023 general elections.

In a brief remark at Tuesday’s plenary, Lawan described the judgement by the Supreme Court on Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act as a “landmark” and vindicates the National Assembly, pointing out, however, the need to strengthen the weak areas.

Ahmad’s remark followed a matter of national importance brought to the floor by Yahaya Abdullahi, a senator representing Kebbi North on the platform of the APC. He said as the Act is being implemented, there would be a need to closely monitor its strengths and weaknesses, considering that it is supposed to improve the electoral processes and procedures in the country.

“It is for us to ensure that where there are weaknesses, we try to come up with measures and amendments to deal with those issues in the law.

“And, I’m sure it will come full circle when the 2023 elections are held.

He said he was convinced that the House of Representatives equally shares similar views of ensuring that the entire National Assembly ensures everything is done to make the electoral act serve the purpose for which it was passed and assented to.

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Lawan assured that as the law is being implemented, the lawmakers would take note of weak aspects of the Act “with a view to strengthening them before we finally take our exit in 2023.”

Rising under Order 42 of the Senate Standing Orders, Yahaya Abdullahi lauded the 9th Assembly for resisting the pressure from the executive to amend section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

He also applauded the Supreme court for what he called clarity, decisiveness and unanimity of its verdict in upholding the separation of powers principle enshrined in the 1999 constitution.

He said the Supreme Court verdict is a major victory towards true democratic governance anchored on the rule of law.

According to him, the Supreme Court verdict should be celebrated for restoring and anchoring the power of making laws to the National Assembly; and establishing a principle that once the President accents to a bill he cannot approbate and reprobate.

Abdullahi, however, underscored the need to amend the Electoral Act to revert to the direct mode of primaries.

“One issue still remains outstanding, and that is amending the Act (after the 2023 elections) to revert to our earlier stance on Direct primaries.

“Our recent nasty experience of the misuse of consensus and delegate system has vindicated our earlier position on the merit of direct primaries provided that a verifiable membership register of political parties kept simultaneously at the Ward level and with INEC with all the necessary safeguards against corruption and data manipulation, is put in place,” the lawmaker stressed.

He agreed with the Senate President that as the political process towards 2023 unfolds, the National Assembly would need to be observant of the loopholes and weaknesses of the 2022 Electoral Act. This, he said is in order to undertake a comprehensive assessment and provide adequate grounds for making amendments to the Act before the expiration of the 9th Assembly in May 2023.

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