Senate Amends Electoral Act To Allow President, Others Vote At Party Primaries

THE Senate on Tuesday passed an amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 to allow statutory delegates participate in political parties’ congresses and conventions. 

The current version, which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in February this year, fails to accommodate statutory delegates to take part in party primaries. 

Statutory delegates include councillors, local government chairmen and their deputies, political party chairmen in all the 774 LGAs, state and federal lawmakers, governors and their deputies, president and vice president, political parties’ National Working Committee members, state party chairmen and secretaries. 

The Senate amended the clause after considering a bill sponsored by deputy Senate president, Ovie Omo-Agege, during plenary on Tuesday. 

The amendment will allow statutory delegates, in addition to the delegates elected by various political parties, vote during congresses and conventions to elect candidates for various political offices. 

Speaking after the Red Chamber passed the bill, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said it was an “unintended omission that needs to be urgently corrected before the commencement of party primaries next week.” 

He said the House of Representatives would also pass the same amendment on Wednesday before transmitting it to the president for assent latest next week. 

He said the amendment had become imperative to ensure that no one is denied his rights during political parties’ activities. 

Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives are expected to hold emergency plenary today with a view to passing the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022. 

Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dr Yahaya Danzaria, disclosed this via a notice sent to the lawmakers. 

The notice read: “This is to inform all Hon Members, staff, media and the general public that the House hereby reconvenes for an emergency plenary session against Wednesday, May 11, 2022. 

“This session has become necessary especially as to amend a fundamental error in the Electoral Act. 

“The House regrets this short notice and implores all members to be present.” 

As at the time of filing this report, it was however uncertain whether the House is set to reverse its stance to seek judicial interpretation of the ruling delivered by Federal High Court on the deletion of the controversial Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act. 

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Benjamin Kalu, who conveyed the House’s position on the ruling had during the briefing held on the March 20 denied knowledge of the National Assembly being a party in the suit. 

While giving insight to the rationale behind the introduction of the new provision, he argued that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution were misconstrued as it clearly stipulates who is a public servant not political appointees.

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