Report on electoral bill ready for consideration Feb. 9, says National Assembly

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The National Assembly has assured that it will pass the Electoral Law when it resumes plenary on February 9, 2021. This is coming as the Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Electoral Matters will adopt a final document this weekend, for presentation to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, Chairman of the panel, Kabiru Gaya, Co-chairman and his House of Representatives counterpart, Aishatu Dukku, stated this during the presentation of the draft report in Abuja, yesterday.

They assured that the National Assembly would pass the bill before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
Omo-Agege said electoral reform remained a priority in the legislative agenda of the Ninth Assembly.

He said the bill, would cure specific mischief plaguing the country’s elections and electoral processes when passed into law and applauded the cooperation of stakeholders for working together to having a new electoral legal framework ahead of the 2023 general elections.

He expressed delight at some of the provisions of the proposed law, especially the mandatory use of card readers for the conduct of council elections.
Omo-Agege, however, explained that this does not take away the independence of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), but to ensure that elections at the council levels were conducted in line with global best practices, adding that SIECs would still conduct council polls.

Speaking, Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu and Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Clement Nwankwo, commended the technical committee for working hard to produce the draft report.

They noted that the development would lay the foundation for significant development in the country’s electoral system. The bill seeks to repeal the Electoral Act, 2010, and provide a more stable and progressive legal framework for elections in Nigeria.

Specifically, it will alter several provisions relating to establishment of polling units, issue of ballot paper, limitation of election expenses, conduct and postponement of elections during emergency and oath of neutrality by election officers, among other provisions. High point of the event was the Technical Panel’s presentation of the draft report to the joint committee.

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