OrderPaperToday – The Senate has passed an amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 to allow for the participation of statutory delegates in the congresses and conventions of political parties.
This followed an expeditious consideration of a bill to amend the 2022 Electoral Act No. 13 during plenary which scaled first, second and third readings, respectively, and was passed during plenary by the chamber after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.
The current version, which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in February this year, fails to accommodate statutory delegates to take part in party primaries.
Statutory delegates include Councillors, Local Government Chairmen and their deputies, political party chairmen in all the 774 LGAs, State and federal lawmakers, Governors and their deputies, President and Vice president, members of the National Working Committee of the various political parties, State party chairmen and secretaries.
The Senate amended the clause after considering a bill sponsored by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) during plenary on Tuesday.
Omo-Agege, in his presentation, said the bill seeks to amend the provision of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act.
According to him, the provisions of the section “does not provide for the participation of what is generally known as ‘statutory delegates’ in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.
The extant section only clearly provides for the participation of elected delegates in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties held to nominate candidates of political parties.
This is an unintended error, and we can only correct it with this amendment now before us,” Agege said.
The amendment will allow statutory delegates, in addition to the delegates elected by various political parties, to vote during congresses and conventions held to elect candidates for various political offices.
Speaking after the Red Chamber passed the bill, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said that the amendment became imperative in view of the deficiency created by the provision of section 84(8) of the extant Act.
He noted that the House of Representatives would also pass the same amendment on Wednesday, before transmitting it to the president for assent latest next week.
“The amended Electoral Act of 2022 that we passed this year, has a deficiency that was never intended, and that deficiency will deny all statutory delegates in all political parties from participation in congresses and conventions.
And, therefore, such a major and unintended clause has to be amended before the party primaries start in the next eight days. This is an emergency legislation, so to speak.
Our expectation is that the National Assembly – the two chambers – would finish with the processing of the amendment of this bill, between today (in the Senate) and tomorrow (in the House of Representatives), and then the Executive will do the assent.
That is so important to enable every statutory delegate to participate in the party primaries right from the beginning that will start on the 18th of May, 2022.
So, this is an emergency effort to ensure that nobody is denied his or her rightful opportunity as a delegate, especially the statutory delegates, and these are those who are elected.
This is a fundamental effort to ensure that we address this within the week, so that by next week, the Electoral Act, 2022 (amended version), will be very salutary for us to start our party primaries.”