Monday, November 30

Senator Omo-Agege Introduces Bill To Amend Electoral Act

Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege says he has introduced a bill for comprehensive amendment of the Electoral Act No. 6 of 2010.

Omo-Agege revealed this on Monday at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Stakeholders Forum on Elections organised by the coalition of more than 70 civil societies in Abuja.

He said the bill, co-sponsored with Senator Abubakar Kyari of Borno North Senatorial District, was now making its way to public hearing, having scaled second reading with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate.

“It is a decisive response to a plethora of our Supreme Court’s decision inviting the National Assembly to make sensible amendments to the Electoral Act,” he said.

“And I believe it is responsible for us to take the apex court’s constructive guidance on issues that fundamentally affect our democracy.

“This apart, Section 153 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, specifically and expressly empowers INEC to issue regulations, guidelines, or manuals for the purpose of giving effects to the provisions of this Act and for its administration thereof.

“The pervasive non-compliance with the Guidelines, Regulations and Manuals, would carry clear consequences for people who think violating electoral due process is a rewarding exercise.

“The proposed Bill to amend the Electoral Act would focus on resolving issues surrounding INEC’s introduction of modern technologies into the electoral process, particularly accreditation of voters.”

Omo-Agege said that the bill would also mandate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the voters’ register for public scrutiny at every registration area and on its website, at least seven days before a general election.

According to him, it also mandates INEC to suspend an election in order to allow a political party that loses its candidate before or during an election to conduct a fresh primary to elect a replacement or new candidate.

He said the bill would grant agents of political parties the right to inspect original electoral materials before the commencement of election, define over-voting to include situations where “total votes cast also exceed total number of accredited voters’’.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was represented by the commission’s head of information and voter education, Festus Okoye.

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