Why NASS hurriedly passed an amendment to Section 84(8) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022

The House of Representatives Wednesday, passed an amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 to enable statutory delegates to participate in political parties’ congresses and primaries.

The House passed the amendment to section 84 of the Act after consideration of a bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No 13, 2022; and for Related Matters (HB. 1984)” sponsored by Hon Abubakar Hassan Fulata.

Reps pass Section 84(8) of Electoral Amendment Act

This comes a day after the Senate passed the same amendment.

The Clerk of the House, Yahaya Danzaria, in a statement Tuesday, had said the lawmakers will convene to amend “a fundamental error” in the act.

The bill, sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta) was considered and passed by the upper chamber.

Key points:

  • In the former Electoral Act, statutory delegates were not recognised, hence the new amendment has included statutory delegates in the act.
  • The Act did not provide for members elected into public offices and executives of the parties, known as statutory delegates, to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses or meetings of parties.
  • The former reads: ”A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rule the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”
  • Section 84(8) was removed and replaced with, “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting, in addition to statutory delegates already prescribed in the Constitution of the party.”
  • Without the provision by the law, Buhari, the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of local government areas, councillors, executives of political parties, amongst others, would have been disenfranchised.

Shortly after its passage at the Senate, the senate president, Ahmad Lawan who said it was important to enable every statutory delegate to vote noted that he expects the national assembly to conclude the amendment by today’s plenary.

He said “The electoral act has a deficiency that was never intended and that deficiency will deny all statutory delegates in all political parties from participating in congresses and conventions,”

“Our expectation is that the national assembly will finish the processing of this amendment between today and tomorrow and the executive will do the assent within the week.” Lawan said.

The National Assembly passed the bill for the Act while President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law.

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