The Senate has passed the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 following the adoption of the recommendations made by the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Bill seeks to make provisions for:

  • The use of Card Readers and any other similar technological devices in conducting elections;
  • Providing a time line for the submission of list of candidates;
  • Identifying criteria for substitution of candidates; limit of campaign expenses, and
  • Addressing issues related to omission of names of candidates or logo of political parties.

Presenting the report at the plenary session of Tuesday, 23 October 2018, the Chairman of the Committee on INEC, Sen. Suleiman Nazif (APC: Bauchi) informed the Senate that the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, was reconsidered and forwarded to the Committee following the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to decline assent to the Bill due to some drafting errors. For this reason, the Committee re-introduced the Bill for subsequent passage.

According to Sen. Nazif, the proposed amendments in the Bill made by the Committee, in line with observations raised by the President are as follows;

  • An amendment to Section 18 of the Principal Act which the President observed contained cross referencing errors;
  • An amendment to Section 36(3) of the Principal Act dealing with a nominated candidate who dies after the commencement of an election but before the announcement of result and declaration of a winner. The President had observed that the qualifying language in the section should be re-considered as it may unduly increase administrative cost and burden of conducting elections in the event that a candidate, no matter how inconsequential to the overall electoral process passes away during the elections;
  • An amendment to Section 49(4) of the Principal that deals with failure of a Card Reader;
  • An amendment to Section 87(13) of the Principal Act that deals with the timeline for the conduct of political party primaries; and
  • An amendment to Section 140(4) of the Principal Act that deals with the omission of the name of a candidate or logo of a political party;

Furthermore, Sen. Nazif mentioned that the Committee also amended the following sections of the Principal Act:

Section 31 which deals with the Submission of list of candidates and their affidavits by political parties;

Section 33 which deal with Political Parties changing Candidates;

Section 34 which deals with Publication of Nomination;

Section 38 which deals with Failure of Nomination;

Section 44 which deals with Format of Ballot Paper;

Section 67 which deals with Endorsement on Rejected Ballot Paper without Official Mark;

Section76 which deals with Forms for Use at Elections;

Section 78 which deals with the Powers of the Commission to Register Political Parties;

Section 82 which deals with the Symbols of Political Parties;

Section 85 which deal with the Notice of Convention, Congress, etc.

Section 87 which deals with the Nomination of Candidates by Parties;

Section 91 which deals with Limitation on Election Expenses;

Section 99 which deals with the Limitation on Political Broadcast and Campaign by Political Parties,

Section 112 which deals with the Death of a Chairman before Oath of Office,

Section 120 which deals with the Improper Use of Voters Cards

Section 138 which deals with Grounds for Filing Petition,

Section 143 which deals with Persons elected to remain in Office pending determination of Appeal

Section 151 which deals with Inspection of Electoral Documents; and

The First Schedule of the Principal Act

He explained that the Committee had unanimously adopted the aforementioned amendments following consultations with relevant stakeholders and other resource material such as the 1999 Constitution (as amended); the Electoral Act 2010(Simplified); and the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended).

 

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