Fresh battle returns to NASS over new electoral law

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Despite signing the Electoral Amendment Bill into law, the worst may be far from over for President Muhammadu Buhari, as members of the National Assembly return to the trenches to amend some sections of the new law.

While signing the law on Friday, Buhari urged the National Assembly to immediately amend Section 84(12). The President is expected to send a new amendment to the parliament next week.

Section 84 (12) of the new law deals with political appointees. It disqualifies political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.

Lawmakers are expected to take a position on the expected amendment in another two weeks, when they round off the ongoing constitution review exercise, expected to take centre stage next week.

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Senate spokesman, Ajibola Bashir, in a statement, said the new law has provided a legislative framework for the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

Basiru said the amendments cover such areas as conduct of primaries, campaign expenses, use of technological devices in elections, electronic transmission of results, review of results declared by electoral officers under duress.

He stated that the Senate has taken notice of Section 84(12) of the Act, especially the concerns raised by the President, and assured Nigerians that the National Assembly will give the section the desired legislative attention.

Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said the signing into law of the Electoral Act Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, is a quantum leap for the nation’s democracy.

Ekweremadu, who described the journey to the new electoral law as “quite frustrating”, however poured encomiums on the civil society, media, and Nigerians for standing up for the nation’s democracy.

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