National Assembly Amends Electoral Bill, Retain Card Readers for Elections

Jafar Auna

The National Assembly has amended the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.

President Buhari, while refusing assent to the third version of the document, had listed about 14 contentious areas he wanted the lawmakers to address.

His observations were noted yesterday in the fourth version of the bill adopted by the joint committee of the National Assembly on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The affected sections, as announced by the chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif (PDP Bauchi North), are 9 (1A), 9 (B5), 18 (1-4), 19 (4), 30 (1), 31 (1) and 31 (7). Others are 36 (3), 44 (3-4), 67 (a-d), 87 (2), 87 (14) and 1124.

While section 9 (1A) deals with voter register in electronic format and manual or hard copy format, section 18 (14) deals with the process of replacement of voter cards by INEC, which must not be done less than 30 days before election.

Section 36 (3) of the adopted bill makes provision for constitutional solution to problems that may arise if a candidate dies suddenly, as it happened in the 2016 Kogi gubernatorial election.

The section states: “If after the commencement of poll and before the announcement of the final result and declaration of a winner, the leading candidate dies, (a) the commission shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, suspend the election for a period not exceeding 21 days; (b) the political party whose candidate died may, if it intends to continue to participate in the election, conduct a fresh primary within seven days of the death of its candidate and submit a new candidate to replace the dead; (c) subject to paragraphs (a) and (b), the commission shall continue with the election, announce the final result and declare a winner.”

Nazif explained that at no time was provision for the use of card reader deleted in any of the versions of the electoral bills. According to him, the adopted fourth electoral bill is a harmonised version of the second and third.


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