President Buhari signs electoral bill into law | See 8 things you may not know

At a signing ceremony, held at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Chamber, Friday, February 25, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the electoral act amendment bill into law.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Reps Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, and Ekiti governor Kayode Fayemi were among the dignitaries present at the ceremony.

The legislation was transmitted to the president January 31 after both the Red and Green Chambers reworked what the president said violated “the spirit of democracy”.

Political parties are now at liberty to use any of the options between direct primary, indirect primary, or consensus candidacy to elect their candidates.

Most prominent in the electoral bill is the electronic transmission of election results. But there’s more.

What is the Electoral Amendment Bill?

The Electoral Amendment Act of 2021 is a revised version of the Electoral act of 2010. The 2021 act gives revised provisions, including the aforementioned electronic transmission of results and party primaries system.

See what we know:

Electronic transmission of results

In Clause 50 of the electoral bill, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the power to decide whether election results will get to the centre electronically or manually.

Early submission of candidate to INEC

In Clause 29(1) of the electoral bill, political parties must submit its list of candidates, who must have been chosen through lawful primaries, to INEC not later than 180 days before election day.

Candidate replacement in the event of death

In Clause 34, political parties can hold primary elections to replace a candidate who dies after the polls have begun but before the final results are announced. In the case of legislative elections, the election will be rerun, and the political party, who candidate is late, can have a primary within 14 days to present a new candidate.

Campaigns begin early

In Clause 94, political parties are now allowed to begin public campaigns 150 days before polling day and will finish 24 hours before that day.

INEC gets funded early

Clause 3(3) provides that all funding required for a general election must be released one year before the general election.

Legislation for electronic voter accreditation

Clause 47 allows voters to be electronically accredited using Smart Card Readers or any other technical equipment determined by INEC.

People living with disabilities will be asssisted

In Clause 54 (2), INEC is mandated to ensure that people with disabilities, special needs, and vulnerable people are assisted at polling units by providing appropriate means of communication.

INEC’s right to review results

Clause 65 of the electoral bill gives INEC the rights to evaluate declarations and returns made under dubious circumstances. This will alter the results management process, discouraging politicians from pressing election workers to declare manufactured election results that Dan only be disputed in court.

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