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Nat’l Assembly sends re-amended Electoral Bill to Buhari

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Nat'l Assembly sends re-amended Electoral Bill to Buhari
Clerk to the National Assembly Mr. Olatunde Amos Ojo on Monday transmitted the authenticated copies of the Electoral Bill 2022 to President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare.
The statement informed that the transmission “was done in accordance with the provisions of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Acts Authentication Act Cap. A2 LFN 2004.”
President Buhari had withheld assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 which was transmitted to him on November 19, 2021 on account of mandatory direct primaries recommended for political parties without any other options.
The piece of legislation was thereafter reworked by both chambers of the National Assembly -the Senate and the House of Representatives and passed same on January 25, 2022.

Accordingly on resumption from Christmas/New Year recess on January 18, both the Senate and the House of Representatives expunged clause 87(2) which contained the provisions and replaced it with clause 84 which widened the option.

But while the Senate in clause 84, makes provision for three options of direct, indirect and consensus as possible mode of primary elections which political parties can use in electing their candidates for general elections, the House of Representatives version limited the options to direct and indirect primaries.

In getting the re-amended bill transmitted to the President for assent within available time frame ahead of the 2023 general elections, the House, as announced by the Senate President, has concurred with Senate’s version of amendment at joint leadership meeting of both chambers.

 

Lawan explained that the amendment accommodate clearly define provisions for the mode of primaries.

He expressed optimism that the bill would be signed into law when transmitted by the National Assembly to the President for his assent.

The Senate President warned that political parties that fail or refuse to abide with the provisions on the mode of primaries, would miss out on the opportunity to participate during elections.

The amended bill provides in clause 84 (2) that, “The procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct, indirect primaries or Consensus.”

 

It added in 84(3) that “a political party shall not impose nomination qualification or disqualification criteria, measures, or conditions on any aspirant or candidate for any election in its constitution, guidelines, or rules for nomination of candidates for elections, except as prescribed under sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177 and 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”

 

On direct primaries in 84 (4), the amended version provides that, “A political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party and shall adopt the procedure outlined below:

 

“(a) In the case of Presidential Primaries, all registered members of the party shall vote for aspirants of their choice at a designated centre at each ward of the Federation.

 

“(b) The procedure in paragraph (a) above of this subsection shall be adopted for direct primaries in respect of Gubernatorial, Senatorial, Federal and State Constituencies.

 

“(c) Special Conventions or Congresses shall be held to ratify the candidate with the highest number of votes at designated centres at the National, State, Senatorial, Federal and State Constituencies, as the case may be.”

 

On Indirect Primaries, the bill provides under 84(5) that, “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure outlined below:

 

“(a) In the case of nominations to the position of Presidential candidate, the political party shall – (i) hold a Special Presidential Convention at a designated centre in the Federal Capital Territory or any other place within the Federation that is agreed to by the National Executive Committee of the party where delegates shall vote for aspirants of their choice.

 

“(ii) the aspirant with the highest number of votes cast at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the Presidential primaries of the political party and that aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the party.”

 

It further provides under 84(7) that, “Where there is only one aspirant or a consensus candidate in a political party for any of the elective positions mentioned in subsection (5)(a), (b), (c) and (d), the party shall convene a special convention or congress at a designated Centre on a specified date for the confirmation of such aspirant and the name of the aspirant shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party.”

 

The Electoral Bill provides in 84(8) that, “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rule the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress meeting.”

 

On Consensus Candidate the bill in 84(9)(a) provides, “A political party that adopts a consensus candidate shall secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the position, indicating their voluntary withdrawal from the race and their endorsement of the consensus candidate.”

 

It goes further in paragraph (b) that, “Where a political party is unable to secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the purpose of a consensus candidate, it shall revert to the choice of direct or indirect primaries for the nomination of candidates for the aforesaid elective positions.”

 

The bill states in paragraph (c) that, “A Special Convention or nomination Congress shall be held to ratify the choice of consensus candidates at designated centres at the National, State, Senatorial, Federal and State Constituencies, as the case may be.”

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