Nigerian Senate on Tuesday altered the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and provided for the participation of statutory delegates in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties in the country.
The expeditious consideration followed the suspension of relevant Senate Rules to pave the way for the First, Second, and Third Reading of the bill on the same day.
Titled, “A bill for an Act to Amend the 2022 Electoral Act No. 13 and for Other Related Matters, 2022 (SB 1002),” the proposed legislation was sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
Statutory delegates include the President, Vice President, State, and National Assembly members, Governors and their deputies, Chairmen of Councils, Councillors, National Working Committee of political parties, Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of political parties amongst others.
In his lead debate, Senator Omo-Agege said the amendment became necessary to correct an ‘unintended error’ in the Electoral Act signed earlier in the year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege noted, would ensure the participation of both statutory and elected delegates in the conventions, and congresses of political parties.
“As couched, Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 does not provide for the participation of what is generally known as ‘statutory delegates’ in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties.“The extant subsection only clearly provides for the participation of elected delegates in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties held to nominate candidates of political parties, he said.“This is an unintended error, and we can only correct it with this amendment now before us,”
After the First and Second Reading of the Bill, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, moved for the suspension of Rule 80 (1) of the Senate Standing Order to allow for the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill by the Committee of the Whole.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan thereafter explained that the move was an ’emergency effort to ensure’ that statutory delegates were not disenfranchised in the forthcoming primaries of political parties.
He said after the processes are concluded in both chambers of the National Assembly, the bill would be transmitted to the Executive for assent within the week.