The House of Representatives has passed for the second reading the Bill that seeks to repeal the Electoral Act, 2010 and enact the Independent National Electoral Commission Act, 2020 (HB 981). The Bill is aimed at regulating the conduct of the Federal, State and Area Council Elections.
Leading the debate at the plenary session of Tuesday, 24 November 2020, Hon. Aisha Dukku (APC: Gombe) stated that the Bill seeks to address the challenges associated with Nigeria’s electoral system by allowing for:
- The restriction of the qualification for elective office to relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended);
- The use of Smart Card Readers (SCR) and other technological devices in elections and political party primaries;
- The timeline for the submission of list of candidates and criteria for substitution of candidates;
- The limit of campaign expenses; and
- Addressing the omission of names of the candidates or logo of political parties.
According to Hon. Dukku, some of the proposed alterations include:
- Alteration to section 3(2)(a) which deals with Timeline for the Release of Funds to the Commission;
- Alteration to section 26 (3)(4) which deals with the Conduct and Postponement of Election in an Emergency;
- Alteration to section 28(1) which deal with the Oath of Neutrality by Election Officers;
- Alteration to section 30 which deals with the Notice of Elections;
- Alteration to section 34 which deals with the Publication of Nominations;
- Alteration to section 36(1) which deals with the Death of a Candidate;
- Alteration to section 38 which deals with the Failure of Nomination;
- Alteration to section 42 (1)(2) which deals with the Establishment of Polling Units;
- Alteration to section 49(1)(2) which deals with the Issue of Ballot Paper;
- Alteration to section 52(1) which deals with the Conduct of Poll by Opens Secret Ballot;
- Alteration to section 85 which deals with the Notice of Convention, Congress etc.;
- Alteration to section 90(1) which deals with the Power to Limit Contribution to a Political Party
- Alteration to section 91 which deals with the Limitation on Election Expenses; and
- Alteration to section 99 (1) which deals with the Limitation on Political Broadcast and Campaign by Political Parties
In her submission Hon. Dukku informed lawmakers that bill, if passed, will further strengthen Nigeria’s legal framework on elections.
The Bill has been referred to the Committee on Electoral Matters for further legislative action.