BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Senate on Wednesday commenced the consideration of a bill seeking to amend the nation’s Electoral Act.

The Bill which scaled Second Reading is For an Act to Amend the Electoral Act (No.6), 2010.

According to the Sponsors of the bill that include Senators Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), the bill which has 26 clauses seeks to amend the Electoral Act to strengthen and protect Nigeria’s democracy, as well as cure specific mischiefs affecting Nigeria’s elections and electoral processes.

While leading the debate on the bill, Omo-Agege said though the process under the eighth Senate was fraught with mutual suspicions and bitterness, electoral reform for the ninth National Assembly remains a priority in its legislative agenda.

Omo-Agege said that the Bill seeks to enact a new Section 87 on the Nomination of Candidates by Parties for Elections by prescribing maximum fees payable by aspirants and restricting nomination criteria strictly to relevant provisions.

He said the Bill also seek to make clarification under Section 38(1)(a) of the principal Act which states that “a person shall be deemed to be qualified for an elective office and his election shall not be questioned on grounds of qualification if, with respect to the particular election in question, he meets the applicable requirements of Sections 65, 107, 137 or 182 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”.

The amendment to the Electoral Act will also provide sanctions for giving false information for purpose of registering a political party and ensure that failure by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others to comply with any provision of the Act carries clear and adequate sanctions.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, after consideration of the bill, referred same to the Committee on INEC for further legislative work.

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