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Senate passes electoral bill after third reading

SENATE has passed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) amendment bill after the third reading.

This was done after the third reading of the bill at the Senate Plenary Sessions on Tuesday.

Senate President Bukola Saraki said the new electoral act would improve the electoral process in Nigeria.

“This will further strengthen our governance,” Saraki said. He added that he was sure the President Muhammad Buhari would give his assent. “I am sure Mr president will, of course, give his assent and we can now finally have an electoral process we all will be proud of.”

The third reading was done after the committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (SB. 699) submitted their report by Suleiman Nazif, Senator representing Bauchi North of Peoples Democratic Party.

While presenting the bill, Nazif explained the main objectives of the bill to include the recognition of the use of Smart Card readers and other technological devices in elections. He added that it would provide a sequence of elections and political party primaries as well as providing a timeline for the submission of the list of candidates, criteria for substitution of candidates.

He said it would address the omission of names of candidates or logo of political parties. This is contained in the bill by inserting, after subsection (4) of  Section  140 of the Principal Act, a new subsection( 5).

It stated: “If, at the point of display or distribution of ballot papers by the Commission, a candidate or his agent discovers that his name or the name or logo of his party is omitted, a candidate or his agent shall notify the Commission and the Commission shall postpone the election to rectify the omission  and appoint another date to conduct the election, not later than 90 days.”

The chairman explained that some observations of the president were considered. 

Mr. President, after he rejected to give assent to the bill the last, had called on the Senate and House of Representatives to address “some drafting issues” quickly as possible so that he may grant assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.

The sections of the electoral act of 2010 that were amended included the sections 31, 33, 34, 38, 44, 67,76, 78, 82, 85, 87,91, 99, 112, 120,138,140, 143, and 151.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (SB. 699) was thereby read the third time and passed.

The Senate on Tuesday also resolved to set campaign spending limits for senatorial elections at N250 million and N100 million for House of Representatives.

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