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National AssemblyGreen Chamber#ThrowbackThursday: The Electoral Offences Bill and its controversies (2016 Till Date)

#ThrowbackThursday: The Electoral Offences Bill and its controversies (2016 Till Date)

 

OrderPaperToday – President Umaru Musa Yar’adua on August 28, 2007 inaugurated a 22-member Electoral Reform Committee led by Justice Mohammed Uwais (Rtd).

On December 11 2008, the panel submitted its recommendation to the President which has since then, become a reference point for tackling electoral offences.

Among the recommendations was the establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission to deal with the prosecution and punishment of electoral offences.

Since then, the proposal has somewhat become the proverbial “cat with nine lives” that resurfaces at the point it is dismissed as dead.

READ ALSO: Reps consider bill seeking establishment of Electoral Offences Commission

In 2016, John Dyegh (PDP, Benue) sponsored ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish National Electoral Offences Commission and the Electoral Offences Tribunal to Provide for the Legal Framework for Investigation and Prosecution of Electoral Offences for the general Improvement of the Electoral Process in Nigeria; and for Related Matters.’

On 25th May 2016, the House of Representatives passed the Electoral Offences Tribunal (Establishment) Bill through first reading.

It scaled second reading on 14th June 2016 and was reported to the Committee on Electoral Matters. It was eventually passed third reading on the 31st of January 2018. 


READ ALSO: FULL LIST: Offences, penalties in National Electoral Offences Commission Bill

THE SENATE VERSION

In 2019, Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North) also sponsored a similar legislation, Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill 2019 and it scaled through first reading on 27th November 2019.

It scaled second reading in the Senate on 4th March 2020 and was thereafter referred to the Senate Committee on INEC; before it passed third reading on 13th July 2021.

As of 17th December 2021 however, President Muhammadu Buhari was yet to assent to the bill for undisclosed reasons

READ ALSO: Senate okays Electoral Offences Commission

RESCISSION BY THE HOUSE

On 28th June 2022, the House rescinded its resolution on a bill seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission and for other related matters.

The motion titled ‘Rescission on Referral of a Bill for an Act to Establish Electoral Offences Commission and for Other Related Offences’ was presented by Chairman of the Rules and Business, Hon. Hassan Fulata (APC, Jigawa) at the plenary.

According to Fulata, similar bills “on the same subject matter are pending before the House, hence the need to rescind the resolution on the bill to further consolidate with the above-mentioned bills.”

READ ALSO: Chinda-led PDP Reps Caucus calls for travel restrictions on electoral offenders

CONSOLIDATION

This follows a consolidation of four bills seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission and Offence Tribunal, on Wednesday, 15th June 2022.

The first bill sponsored by Francis Uduyok is seeking to establish ‘Electoral Offences Commission and the Electoral Offences Tribunal and for related matters.’

The second bill sponsored by Aishatu Dukku, Chairman of the House Committee on Electoral Matters, seeks to establish the ‘Nigerian Electoral Offences Commission and for related matters.’

The third bill sponsored by Kingsley Chinda seeks to establish ‘Electoral Offences Commission and the Electoral Offences Tribunal to provide the legal framework for the investigation and prosecution of electoral offences for the general improvement of the electoral process in Nigeria and for related matters.’

The fourth bill which seeks to establish the ‘National Electoral Offences Commission; and for related matters’ was transmitted by the Senate on July 14, 2021,to the House for concurrence.

READ ALSO: Controversy trails bill establishing Electoral Offences Commission

CONTROVERSY

John Dyegh (PDP, Benue) in a point of order, expressed displeased that despite his sponsorship of a similar bill in the previous and present Assembly, his bill was not among those consolidated.

He also stated that he then cleaned up the bill and re-introduced it in the present assembly but it seemed to have been stood down without reason.

House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa who ought to move for its second reading pointed out that he was not consulted about it being incorporated to move for the second reading of the Bill. 

The Speaker in defence of Dyegh, assured that ‘his bill’ would be consolidated and his name added to the list of sponsors. The bill was thus stepped down for presentation on a later date.

READ ALSO: House of Reps: National Electoral Offences Commission Bill scales second reading 

LIGHT IN THE TUNNEL?

Following a resolution of the grey areas, the House on 30th June 2022, passed for second reading, the National Electoral Offences Commission and Electoral Offences Tribunal Bill.

The consolidated bill is jointly sponsored by House Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (on behalf of the Senate), Aishatu Dukku, John Dyeh, Francis Uduyok and Kingsley Chinda.

The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish National Electoral Offences Commission and the Electoral Offences Tribunal to Provide for the Legal Framework for Investigation and Prosecution of Electoral Offences for the general Improvement of the Electoral Process in Nigeria; and for Related Matters.’

#ThrowbackThursday is OrderPaper’s special programme focused on historical trends on the polity.

It spotlights the genesis, as well as previous interventions by the National Assembly while exploring the present and way forward.

Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is an ace political analyst and content editor with major interest in Nigerian Politics and Governance
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