OrderPaperToday – The Senate has reconsidered and passed the electoral act (amendment) bill to give clarity on the options of conducting primaries by political parties.
Recall that both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed different versions of the bill last week.
While the Senate version included direct, indirect and consensus options of conducting primaries for nominating candidates for elections, the House of Representatives’ version excluded the option of consensus.
In a motion titled “rescission on clause 84 of the electoral act (amendment) bill, 2022 and re-committal to the committee of the whole,” sponsored by Abdullahi, Yahaya Abubakar, Senate Leader on Tuesday, it was observed that “some fundamental issues which require fresh legislative action by both Chambers of the National Assembly emerged on the clause.”
According to the motion, “this necessitated a joint meeting of the leadership in NASS, in order to give Nigerians an enduring electoral act that can stand the test of time.
“Relying on order 1 (b) and order 52 (6) of Senate Standing Order, 2022 as amended, the Senate accordingly resolved to rescind its decision on the affected clause of the bill as passed and re-commit same to the committee of the whole for re-consideration and passage”.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks after the passage of the clause stated that “by passing the amendment to Clause 84 on the mode of conducting primaries by political parties, we have concluded on our tasks on the amendment to the Electoral Act Bill.
“Recall that the Senate and the House passed amendment bill with slight difference. The House passed the mode of primaries to be direct and indirect only; the Senate passed the mode of primaries to be direct, indirect and consensus.
“What we have done is to give very clear and sufficient definition to each word. The direct primary is well defined and how it should be conducted. For the consensus the two chambers have produced a very clear definition on how a consensus candidate will emerge.”
He expressed optimism that “Mr. President will sign the bill. Our desire is to reform the electoral processes in Nigeria to ensure better transparency, accountability and integrity to the satisfaction of Nigerians and international communities.
Lawan mentioned that political parties would have the responsibility of ensuring that they follow the law on the options provided, otherwise they will end up missing the opportunities to participate in elections.
He Let me thanked the lawmakers for ensuring that the bill was passed, adding: “This is very significant for us in the 9th Senate and National Assembly. It is a fundamental bill, as important as the PIA. It gives Nigerians the opportunities to have everybody’s vote count.”