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2023: NASS plans further amendment to strengthen Electoral Act

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2023: NASS plans further amendment to strengthen Electoral Act

National Assembly has disclosed plan to further amend the Electoral Act with a view to strengthening it ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan dropped the hint on Tuesday during plenary, following a matter of national importance raised by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North) on the Supreme Court judgment on Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 won by the National Assembly against the Presidency.

Lawan, in his remarks explained that amendment of the Act would help in remedying the weaknesses identified in the law.

While commending the Supreme Court for the “landmark judgment”, the Senate President maintained that the National Assembly did their best on the Act which was upheld by the apex court.

He said: “The idea of what method of primaries should be adopted at the moment is entirely left for the political parties to decide.

“But as we implement the electoral act 2022, we are supposed to be very observant of the strengths and weaknesses of the law.

“This law is supposed to improve on the electoral processes and procedures in our country.

“So, it is for us to ensure that where there are weaknesses, we try to come up with measures, amendments to deal with the issues of weaknesses in the law.

“And, I’m sure it will come full circle when the 2023 elections are held.

“I have no doubt in my mind that all of us in the National Assembly, not only in the Senate, but in the House as well, feel that we must do everything and everything possible to make this electoral act serve the purpose for which it was passed and assented to.

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“Therefore, I believe that we should work tirelessly to take note of those areas that we feel are not strong enough – that are weak points in the law – with a view to strengthening them before we finally take our exit in 2023.”

Earlier, Senator Abdullahi lauded the 9th Assembly for resisting the pressure from the executive to amend Section 84(12) of Electoral Act and also the Supreme court for the clarity, decisiveness and unanimity of its verdict in upholding the separation of powers principle enshrined in our 1999 constitution.

He, however, underscored the need to amend the Electoral Act to revert to the direct mode of primaries.

“One issue still remains outstanding, and that is amending the Act (after the 2023 elections) to revert to our earlier stance on Direct primaries.

“Our recent nasty experience of the misuse of consensus and delegate system has vindicated our earlier position on the merit of direct primaries provided that a verifiable membership register of political parties kept simultaneously at the Ward level and with INEC with all the necessary safeguards against corruption and data manipulation, is put in place.

“As the political process towards 2023 unfolds, the National Assembly needs to be observant of the loopholes and weaknesses of the 2022 Electoral Act, so that a comprehensive assessment is undertaken to provide adequate grounds for making amendments to the Act before the end of the term of office of the 9th Assembly in May 2023”, the lawmaker added.

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