BusinessDay

National Assembly passes electoral bill

The senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sitting in Abuja on Wednesday, January 19 passed the electoral bill with some amendments.

The Red Chamber convened over the controversial clause in the bill to allow for other modes of primaries and other related matters as it concerns the 2023 election.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier rejected the electoral act amendment bill citing his action was meant to protect the country’s democracy from moneybag political parties.

Because of the provision of direct primaries for all political parties, the president withhold assent on 22nd December 2021 giving several reasons after receiving informed advice from relevant ministries, departments, and agencies.

The president demanded that the electoral bill be passed in January 2022 so that the positive provisions of the bill, especially on the card reader, strengthening of INEC, over-voting, and electronic transmission of results will be implemented in 2023 elections.

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The Senate in complying with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari amended and passed the bill with three options for all the political parties, which are the direct election, indirect election, and conscientious option.

According to Arise Television parties that choose to abide by the indirect primaries option will have to hold special conventions at all state levels for governorship position and for the presidency, the parties will hold conventions at all the 36 states and a national convention to nominate their candidates respectively.

Sections 4, subsection 8 and 84, subsection 3 were areas amended by the lawmakers.

The Electoral Act amendment bill 2021 makes provisions for card readers; clearly forbids members of political parties from taking up employment or appointment in INEC; defines over-voting clearly and makes provision for electronic transmission of results.

But it also makes provision to delete the provision for the conduct of indirect primaries in the nomination of party candidates and making direct primaries compulsory for all political parties.

Ahmed Lawani, the senate president, has promised to send the amended bill to the president for his assent.

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