August 19, 2022

The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill took the centre stage in the National Assembly on Wednesday as the Red Chamber re-amended the Bill, approving direct, indirect or consensus options for party primaries while the House of Representatives went into executive session to discuss the matter..

Recall that the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday, said the bill would be reintroduced Wednesday.
Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday, said the bill would be reintroduced Wednesday.

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True to his words, the bill was listed in the Order Paper containing lists of items to be discussed at plenary.

Besides, the bill was also listed for consideration.

Titled “Recommital of Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021”, the bill, which is standing in the name of the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Abubarkar Fulata, reads:

“The House notes that the Electoral Act (Amendment) bill was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the President for assent but the assent was withheld

“Also notes that in withholding the assent, the President particularly referred to the amendment of section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 dealing with the mode of nomination of candidates by political parties

“Further notes that section 87(2) of the electoral act 2010 provides that the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties elective positions shall be by direct and indirect primaries

“Recalls that the national assembly amended section 87 (2) of the electoral act 2010 as clause 84(2) of the electoral act (amendment) bill 2021 to read thus:

“The Procedure for nomination of candidates by political parties for various elective positions shall be by direct primaries”

“Cognizant of the need to allow political parties to choose the procedure for nomination of candidates for elective positions.

“The House resolves to commit section 84(2) of the Electoral Act (Amendment) bill, 2021 to the Committee of the Whole for reconsideration in accordance with Order 12, Rule 20 (1-3) of the Standing Order of the House”, the Order Paper stated.

The House went into executive session after Gbajabiamila after conferred with principal officers.

But the Senate on Wednesday re-amended the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, passed by the National Assembly on November 18, 2021.

Accordingly, the chamber in Clause 84(2) of the report approved direct, indirect primaries or consensus as procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions.

It also approved the recommended Clause 84(3) 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.”

Clause 84(4) further provides 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, a political party shall, (i) hold special conventions in each of the 36 states of the federation and FCT, where delegates shall vote for each of the aspirants at designated centers in each State Capital on specified dates.”

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