The Senate on Tuesday amended the Electoral Act 2022 to allow statutory delegates to participate and vote in party conventions, congresses, and meetings.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, sponsored the legislation that saw lawmakers amend Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act – which initially allowed only elected delegates of a party to participate in conventions and congresses.
In his lead argument, Omo-Agege said the amendment seeks to make provision for those who will not be elected as ad-hoc delegates to participate in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of political parties.
He further asserted that the initial section of the Bill was an error on the part of the legislature. In accordance with Omo-Agege’s presentation, Senator Uche Ekwunife said the amendment was a straightforward one.
Senator Ekwunife added that “without this amendment, most of us will not have the liberty of voting during the convention. I support the amendment. Let us have it for second reading”.
While corroborating what his colleagues had said, Senator Sabi Abdullahi said “this Bill is a very straightforward Bill, and let us put in on record that this error was something that happened inadvertently. We have seen the error and that is why we are back here to ensure nobody suffers any harm”.
The Bill was read the second time and referred to the Committee of the Whole where it was passed.
In his reaction after the bill had been passed, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan explained that the amended Electoral Act of 2022 which was passed earlier this year, had a deficiency that was never intended.
He added that the deficiency will deny all statutory delegates in all political parties from participation in congresses and conventions.
Senator Lawan further opined that “such a major misplaced clause ought to be amended before the party primaries start in the next eight days. And therefore, this is an emergency legislation.
“The National Assembly will finish with the processing of this amendment on this Bill between today in the Senate and tomorrow in the House of Representatives, and then the Executive will do the assent within the week.
“That is so important to enable every statutory delegate to participate in the party primaries. This is an emergency effort to ensure that nobody is denied his/her rightful opportunity as a delegate.”
In January, President Buhari assented to a reworked version of the bill transmitted to him by the National Assembly.
The President had prior refused to assent to the bill, saying there were deficiencies that needed to be fixed, including the incorporation of some forms of elections that were previously left out.