By Olu W. Onemola
Last week, the Nigerian Senate passed the Electoral Act No 6 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2017 after years of unsuccessful attempts by various assemblies. The Bill, gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) new powers, as well as pushes for more accountability and transparency in the conducting of elections.
Here are five things you need to know about this Bill:
#1. INSTANT TRANSMISSION OF RESULTS
The Senate’s INEC reform bill mandates the immediate transmission of voting results from polling units to collation centers. This will help give real-time result updates and end election malpractice.
#2. ONLINE PUBLICATION OF VOTER REGISTERS
The Senate’s INEC reform bill mandates that INEC voter registers must now be published 30 days before the election. This will end the manipulation of voter registers.
#3. FULL BIOMETRIC ACCREDITATION
The Senate’s electoral reform bill gives INEC powers to utilize full biometric accreditation of voters with smart card readers and/or other technological devices, as INEC may introduce for elections from time to time.
#4. RESTRICTS ARBITRARY QUALIFICATIONS
According to the Senate’s electoral reform bill, political parties can no longer impose arbitrary qualification criteria on candidates. This will encourage younger voters to contest and make elections less about money and more about ideas.
#5. MORE DIRECT PRIMARIES
According to the Senate’s electoral reform bill, all party members are now eligible to determine the ad-hoc delegates to elect candidates in the primary process.This will make the election process more democratic.
Olu W. Onemola, is a Senior Legislative Aide on Communications & Strategy to the President of the Nigerian Senate