The Nigerian Senate is set to review the Electoral Act 2022 to ensure that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are held more accountable for ensuring free and credible elections.
Speaking during the screening and confirmation of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) appointed by President Bola Tinubu, Senate President Godswill Akpabio stated that the law will be reviewed to make provisions for punishment for offenders without necessarily taking legal action.
The Senate had earlier expressed its intention to mandate the electronic transmission of results, allow uploading of polling unit-level results, and incorporate result sheets used at different levels of result collation.
“We in the 10th assembly are determined to make sure that we make the electoral Act that will hold people accountable for their actions to ensure free and fair exercise. I have seen where a REC goes on television and speaks even more than the INEC chairman and states that results will be transmitted, but INEC refuses to take action against him, and the court will overrule it over time.
“We have suffered, and I think it’s time that we put the right provisions in the Act that we don’t need to wait for the court to order that such electoral umpire should be tried; the law will make provision for it”, Akpabio said.
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“We are going to work together, hold closed-door sessions to review the law, rejig the electoral system so that they’ll be held more accountable for their actions”, he added.
The Senate president further charged the RECs to research and recommend sections of the laws that require amendment to improve the electoral system.
However, the Senate confirmed the nomination of seven out of the 10 newly appointed RECs by the provisions of Section 154(1) of the Constitution. Tinubu had last week approved the appointment of 10 new RECs for INEC for a five-year term each.
The newly confirmed RECs are: Etekarnba Umoren (Akwa Ibom), Isah Shaka Ehimeakne (Edo), Oluwatoyin Babalola (Ekiti), Abubakar Ahmed Ma’aji (Gombe), Shehu Wahab (Kwara), Aminu Kasimi Idris (Nasarawa), and Mohammed Abubakar Sadiq (Niger).
The other nominees from Rivers, Zamfara Lagos, Anugbum Onuoha, Abubakar Fawa Dambo and Bunmi Omoseyindemi respectively did not present themselves for screening.