Senate Deliberate On The Amendment Of The Electoral Act

By Ikenga Chronicles November 3, 2016

The Senate, on Wednesday, failed to amend the Electoral Act of 2010. The amendment would have provided for the substitution of a dead governorship or presidential candidate before the announcement of final results of an election.

Deliberating on the report of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and for other related matters, (S.B.231 and S.B.234), the Red Chamber opted for the suspension of further discussions on the matter.

In his presentation, chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Abubakar Kyari, said the amendment to the Electoral Act became imperative because Nigerians wanted a situation where the 8th Senate would come up with a modern and better electoral law that would deliver credible electoral outcomes.

Senate’s amendment of the act was designed to put an end to a repeat of the crisis which came up following the death of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Audu during the November 2015 gubernatorial election in Kogi State.

The resolution to suspend the amendment of the Electoral Act was borne out of the inability of lawmakers to agree on the way forward. ‎Dissatisfied with the recommendations of the panel, the matter was referred to the committee on INEC for further legislative inputs.

The amendment which was among several others carried out on the Electoral Act 2010 was meant to amend Section 36 of the Electoral Act “by inserting a new sub-section ‘3’ which provides for the substitution of a candidate of a political party who dies before the declaration of the result of an election with the first runner up in the party’s primaries which was won by the deceased candidate.”

Section 3 reads that “if after the commencement of poll and before the announcement of the final result and declaration of a winner, a nominate candidate dies, the chief National Electoral Commissioner shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, proceed with the election after allowing the political party whose candidate died to substitute the late candidate with the person who scored the next highest number of lawful votes in the primaries, which was won by the deceased candidate, as if the substituted person was the candidate originally nominated by that party.”

According to the amendment, “The new insertion (section (3) fills a lacuna in the law- which was recently made manifest in Kogi State where a candidate died before the final result of the governorship election was announced.”

Other recommendations by the Committee include Clause 7 (section 4 of SB. 234) of the amendment of section 38 of the Electoral Act. It was deleted, as it was in conflict with sections 132 (3) and 178 (3) of the Constitution.

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