Senate amends Electoral Act to allow president, others vote at party primaries
The Senate has amended the Electoral Act 2022, to allow ‘statutory delegates’ to participate and vote in political parties’ conventions, congresses, and meetings.
This followed the passage of the amendment bill on the act at the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday in Abuja.
The bill was sponsored by deputy Senate president Ovie Omo-Agege. Presenting the bill, Omo-Agege said it sought to amend the provision of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act.
According to him, the provisions of the section do not provide for the participation of what is generally known as ‘statutory delegates’ in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties.
“The extant section only clearly provides for the participation of elected delegates in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties held to nominate candidates of political parties.
“This is an unintended error, and we can only correct it with this amendment now before us,” he said. He listed the statutory delegates to include the president, vice president, members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies.
Others, according to Omo-Agege are lawmakers at the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of local councils, councilors and members of national working committees of political parties among others.
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan said that the amendment became imperative in view of the deficiency created by the provision of Section 84(8) of the Extant Act.
“The amended Electoral Act of 2022 that we passed this year has a deficiency that was never intended and that deficiency will deny all statutory delegates in all political parties from participation in congresses and conventions.
“And, therefore, such a major and unintended clause has to be amended before the party primaries start in the next eight days. This is an emergency legislation, so to speak.
“Our expectation is that the national assembly – the two chambers – would finish with the processing of the amendment of this bill, between today (Tuesday), in the Senate, and tomorrow (Wednesday), in the House of Representatives and then the executive will do the assent,” he said.
He added: “That is so important to enable every statutory delegate to participate in the party primaries right from the beginning that will start on the May 18.
“So, this is an emergency effort to ensure that nobody is denied his or her rightful opportunity as a delegate, especially the statutory delegates, and these are those who are elected.
“This is a fundamental effort to ensure that we address this within the week, so that by next week, the Electoral Act 2022 (amended version), would be very salutary for us to start our party primaries,” said Lawan.