OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Wednesday, amended the Electoral Act 2022 to enable statutory delegates participate in the congresses and conventions of their respective political parties.
The amendment of Section 84(8) was sponsored by Abubakar Hassan Fulata in a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No 13, 2022; and for Related Matters (HB. 1984).
While assenting to the Electoral Act 2022 in February, President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier expressed his reservation about a section of the legislation and wrote to the National Assembly.
He had indicated that in order not to disenfranchise eligible voters, such section has to be amended.
Following an emergency plenary by the House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, the House adopted the amendment to include “in addition to statutory delegates already prescribed in the Constitution of the party.”
The previous provision had stated that: “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting.”
Wednesday’s amendment at the Green Chamber did not happen so smoothly after all, as a rowdy session earlier ensued at plenary when the presiding officer threw up an amendment of Section 29 in the Electoral Act 2022.
At a media briefing shortly after plenary, House Spokesman, Benjamin Kalu clarified that the rowdy session was occasioned by the House rejection of a proposed reduction of 180 to 150 days as contained in Section 29 of the Electoral Act 2022.
The amendment sought to reduce the number of days before the date appointed for a general election that political parties have to submit the list of candidates, who emerged from valid primaries to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to Kalu, “the reason for the 180 days was that oftentimes, pre-election matters flood the courts, suffocating other judicial functions.
This law seeks to cure that mischief so that issues arising from political party primaries would be dealt with sufficiently within the space of time,” he said.