The National Assembly yesterday transmitted the reworked 2022 Electoral Act Amendment Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent. Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, disclosed this in a one-page statement, titled, “Transmission of the Electoral Bill 2022.”
Omoworare stated that the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Olatunde Moses Ojo, had transmitted authentic copies of the bill to the president. He stressed that this was 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.
The release read in part, “The Clerk to the National Assembly Mr. Olatunde Amos Ojo, has transmitted the authenticated copies of the Electoral Bill 2022 to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on 31st January 2022.
“This 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.
“Mr. President had withheld assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 transmitted to him on 19th November 2021. The Electoral Bill was thereafter reworked by the National Assembly and both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed same on 25th January 2022.”
The National Assembly had last Tuesday passed the harmonised version of Clause 84 of the 2010 Electoral Act (amendment) Bill 2022, which allows political parties’ to adopt three modes of primaries. The bill earlier passed last year, was not assented to by Buhari, who cited the provisions of Clause 84 that made direct primary compulsory for all political parties in electing their candidates for elections.
The two chambers of the National Assembly then recommitted the bill for fresh legislation and added other options, as advised by the president.
The harmonised version now accommodates direct, indirect, and consensus modes of primary election.
The senate had earlier passed the three modes of primary, but the House of Representatives version did not include the consensus arrangement. The red chamber considered the harmonised version of the bill at plenary and passed the proposed legislation.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the bill had given sufficient and clear definitions to the modes of primary elections now adopted by both chambers of the National Assembly.
The re-amendment was sequel to a motion on, “Rescission on Clause 84 of the Electoral Act No. 26 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and Committal to the Committee of the Whole.” The motion was sponsored by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).
The amended bill provides in Clause 84 (2), “The procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct, indirect primaries or Consensus.”
It adds in 84(3), “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, “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.”
On Indirect Primaries, the bill provides under 84(5), “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.”
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.”