Senate reject bill to empower parties fill vacant assembly seats without elections

Sharon EboesomiNovember 28, 20233 min

The Leader of the Senate faulted the bill sponsor for not presenting a copy of the amendment to Senators.

Akpabio

The Senate has stepped down the second reading of a bill seeking to allow political parties to nominate and fill vacant seats in the National and State Assemblies without bye-election in the event of the death or resignation of a legislator.  

The Bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act, 2022 to allow political parties to nominate and replace validly elected candidates in the event of resignation, death, or vacancy of seats of serving members in National Assembly and State Assembly and for connected matters, 2023 (SB, 119),” was sponsored by Senator Karimi Sunday (APC, Kogi West) during Tuesday’s plenary.

The bill, which was introduced in the Senate on 26th October, 2023 was rejected after the majority of Senators voted against it.

Karimi explained that the bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act 2022 to allow the political party that won an election to nominate and replace candidates in the National Assembly and State Houses of Assemblies whenever a vacancy occurs due to death or resignation of the candidate during the pendency of his tenure in office.

He said the bill will primarily avoid the waste of public resources on conducting a fresh election in the federal and state constituencies.

READ ALSO: Constitution Amendment: NASS ‘sets up’ C’ttee to resolve impasse | News Roundup

Why are we wasting money conducting a fresh election when we can use that money for infrastructural development.”

Many senators continuously murmured during the lead debate of the bill.

The leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) however, faulted the bill sponsor for not presenting a copy of the amendments to the Senators.

He said, “The sponsor of the Bill unfortunately did not present us with the lead debate. All we got was a copy of the Bill to which amendment is being proposed.

“Most important, when it comes to constitution amendments, after the first reading, it will be referred to the Senate committee of Constitutional Review so that they can have a thorough consideration of the proposal.

“I suggest we adopt it for this Bill rather than going ahead to read it for a second time,” he added.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, thereafter presented Karimi with the option of withdrawing the bill or amending it, and he declined both options.

The bill was subsequently stepped down.

Sharon Eboesomi

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