Clause by Clause, Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, Signed by Buhari, Emerges

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President Buhari Makes Fresh Appointment

The Clause by Clause, Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, Signed by President Buhari, has Emerged

The long-awaited Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 has been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

During a ceremony at the presidential villa in Abuja on Friday, he signed the document at 12:27 pm.

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The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, were present at the ceremony.

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Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), placed the document on the table for signature.

The President proposed a few amendments, which he urged the National Assembly to consider as soon as possible.

The Clause by Clause,

The reviewed limits of campaign expenses and voluntary monetary donations, as well as categories of government appointees that qualify to be delegates during primaries and conventions and offences relating to party financing are among novel provisions in the revised Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 passed by the National Assembly and expected to be signed by President Muhammadu Buhari today.

Clause 8(10) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill provides three months for appointees to resign from their positions before party conventions or congresses, with speculations that it is meant to disqualify the number of political appointees by governors as delegates.

A clean copy of the 119-page harmonised bill obtained by the Nigerian Ejes Gist Newspaper stipulates offences and sanctions in relation to the finances of political parties, limitation on the amount of money or other assets which an individual can contribute to a party or candidate and to demand such information on the amount donated and source of the funds, as well as limitation of election expenses.

Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 Section 8(5) imposes a N5 million fine or two years imprisonment or both on any Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff for being a member of a political party, misrepresenting himself by not disclosing his membership, affiliation, or connection to any political party in order to secure an appointment with the commission in any capacity.

2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill Nigeria Clause 9(6) empowers INEC not to stop the registration of voters, updating and revision of the register of voters until 90 days before any election,

Clause 10(3) further mandates the commission to make available to every political party, names and addresses of each person registered during that year, within 60 days after each year.

Clause 127 provides for a fine of N100,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both for anyone who corruptly influences any person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or being a voter, corruptly accepts or takes money or any other inducement.

 

Clause 128(a-d) states that a person who directly or indirectly, by his or herself or by another person on his or her behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restrain; inflicts or threatens to inflict by his or herself or by any other person, any minor or serious injury, damage, harm or loss on or against a person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of such person having voted or refrained from voting; by abduction, duress, or a fraudulent device or contrivance, impedes or prevents the free use of the vote by a voter or thereby compels, induces, or prevails on a voter to give or refrain from giving his vote; or prevents any political aspirant from free use of the media, designated vehicles, mobilisation of political support and campaign at an election, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of three years.

 

The document specifically provides relevant procedures for political aspirants on the use of the media, designated vehicles, mobilisation of political support and campaign during election, as well as sanctions including imprisonment for anyone that may undermine the provisions of the law.

 

Section 84 of the bill also provides procedures for a political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections to conduct primaries for all the aspirants into all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the commission.

 

These include: direct primaries, indirect primaries and consensus. Part of the provisions in the new electoral law include introduction of new technology that could enhance the integrity of nation’s electoral process. Part III of the new legislation provides for national register of voters and voter registration, continuous registration, appointment of officers, qualification for registration, transfer of registered voters, demand for information regarding registration, power to print or issue register of voters, power to print or issue voters card, custody of voters’ register and power to issue replacement permanent voters’ cards.

 

Others include the display of the copies of the voters’ list, revision officer for hearing of claims, proprietary rights in the voters’ card, offences of buying and selling voters’ cards and offences relating to register of voters, respectively. Speaking recently on the intendment of the bill, chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Honourable Aisha Dukku, said the bill seeks to address over 300 flaws (including new provisions) in the Electoral Act, 2010.

Aspirant Qualifications 

Section 84(3) of the bill provides that: “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).”

Direct Primary 

On direct primaries in 84(4), the amended version provides 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.”

Indirect Primary

On indirect primary, the bill provides under 84(5) that, “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure such that “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.”President Muhammadu Buhari, Clause by Clause, Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, Signed by Buhari, Emerges

On consensus candidate

The bill in 84(9a), provides that: “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.”

 

Speaking on the Clause 8(10), a member of the House of Representatives and chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Honourable Babajimi Benson, said the clause only sought to create a level-playing field for aspirants during congresses and conventions.

That’s all the information on Clause by Clause, Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, Signed by Buhari.

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