BREAKING: Electoral Bill: Senate makes U-turn, includes other modes of primary elections
Written by darling on January 19, 2022
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in December, rejected the bill, making his reservations on Clause 87, which deals with the mode of primary election.
The Senate has amended and passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The lawmakers rescinded their decision on a clause in the bill.
Clause 87, deals with the mode of primary election to be used by political parties to select candidates for elective offices.
In the bill earlier passed by the National Assembly, the lawmakers prescribed that political parties use only a direct mode of primary.
But President Muhammadu Buhari had in December, rejected the bill, making his reservations on Clause 87.
The president had cited insecurity, the cost of conducting direct primaries and infringement on the rights of Nigerians to participate in governance as his reasons for declining assent.
He, however, said he would sign the bill if changes are made to the Clause, to include the addition of consensus candidates and indirect primary options to the mode of selecting a candidate for an election.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers amended the bill.
In a motion to recommit the bill to the Committee of the Whole, the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, prayed that the Senate “rescind its decision on the affected Clause of the bill as passed and recommit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.”
He recalled that the president withheld assent to the bill based on his observation in Clause 84.
Mr Yahaya also said there was a need to address the observation by Mr Buhari and make necessary amendments in accordance with Order 87(C) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (as amended); and also relying on orders 1(b) and 52(6) of the same Orders.
This Order allows the Senate to reconsider the substantive motion for rescission.
In the Committee of the Whole, the lawmakers adopted Clause 84 of the bill, which reads “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold direct or indirect primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which may be monitored by the Commission.”
There was no reaction or contribution from any lawmaker as the senators unanimously adopted the recommendations.
The amended Clause in the bill will be harmonised with the House of Representatives and afterwards, transmitted to the president for assent.
The Senate President assured on Tuesday that the National Assembly will amend and pass the bill on Wednesday.
He spoke after a meeting with Mr Buhari at the State House, Abuja.