Senate Begins Moves To Amend Electoral Act, Scales Second Reading

The Senate on Tuesday began consideration of a bill to amend Nigeria’s Electoral Act. The Bill which scaled Second Reading is For an Act to Amend the Electoral Act (No.6), 2010.

According to the Sponsors, Senators Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), the bill which has 26 clauses seeks to amend the Electoral Act to strengthen and protect Nigeria’s democracy, as well as “cure specific mischiefs plaguing our (Nigeria’s) elections and electoral processes.”

Leading the debate on the bill, Omo-Agege said though the process under the eighth Senate was fraught with mutual suspicions and bitterness, electoral reform for the ninth National Assembly remains a priority in its legislative agenda.

The Deputy Senate President added that the Bill to amend the Electoral Act seeks to enact a new Section 87 on the Nomination of Candidates by Parties for Elections by prescribing maximum fees payable by aspirants and restricting nomination criteria strictly to relevant provisions.

The bill, according to him, also seeks to make clarification under Section 38(1)(a) of the principal Act which states that “a person shall be deemed to be qualified for an elective office and his election shall not be questioned on grounds of qualification if, with respect to the particular election in question, he meets the applicable requirements of Sections 65, 107, 137 or 182 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”.

The amendment to the Electoral Act will also provide sanctions for giving false information for purpose of registering a political party and ensure that failure by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others to comply with any provision of the Act carries clear and adequate sanctions.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, after consideration of the bill, referred same to the Committee on INEC for further legislative work.

Meanwhile, a total of ten bills scaled first reading during plenary on Wednesday. The bills are: Federal Polytechnic Akpabuyo, Cross River State (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 177) by Senator Bassey Gershom Henry (Cross River South); Electoral Act No.6 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 179) by Senator Moro Patrick Abba (Benue South); Trade Mark Act CAP T13 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB.180) by Senator Shettima Kashim (Borno Central), and Police Act CAP P19 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 181) by Senator Jika Dauda (Bauchi Central).

Other bills are: Police Academy (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 182) by Senator Jika Dauda Haliru (Bauchi Central); Investment and Security Act CAP 124 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 183) by Senator Amosun Ibikunle Oyelaja (Ogun Central); 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 184) by Senator Ekwunife Uche Lilian (Anambra Central).

Others are Institute of Aviation Safety and Management Mbosi, Anambra State (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 186) by Senator Ubah, Ifeanyi Patrick (Anambra South); Constituency Development Catalyst Fund (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 187) by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai (Oyo North); National Food Reserve Agency (Est.) Bill, 2019 (SB. 189) and by Senator Adamu Abdullahi (Nasarawa West).