OrderPaperToday – The House of representatives has passed the electoral act amendment bill along the line of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recommendations.
The controversial electoral act was rejected several times by the President but in the last letter of rejection to the National Assembly dated December 6th 2018, the President highlighted several sections in the bill he had issues with.
This included section 5 of the bill which sought to amend section 18 of the Principal Act; section 11 of the bill, amending Section 36; section 24 of the bill which amends Section 85 (1) stating that political parties “may give 21 days notice of the intention to merge, as opposed to the 90 days provided in Section 84 (2) of the Electoral Act which provides the provision for merge of political parties.”
The bill passed by the committee of the whole adopted all the recommendations of the President. There was no debate to the recommendation.
The new section 18 passed by the House reads: Section 18(1) of the Principal Act is amended by; (21) Substituting for the figure, “30″, in line 1; the figure “60″
(b) inserting after subsection (1), new subsections (2)”, “(3)” and (4)
“(2) If the Electoral Officer or any other office is satisfied as to the circumstances of the loss, destruction, defacement or damage of the voters card, s\he shall issue to the voter a replacement permanent voters card.
No “person shall issue a replacement of a permanent voters card to any voter on polling day or less thirty (3 0) days before polling day.’
(4) any person who contravenes subsection (3) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 5 years imprisonment or a fine of N5, 000,000.00 or both”.
The report was supposed to be considered by House on Thursday last week, but the was stepped down as the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, Lasun Yussuf, directed some further work for more clarity.
Recall that the President also said that he declined assent to the electoral bill as it will be too close to elections. “I am declining assent to the Bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general elections which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process,” he had said in one of the letters to the legislature.