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National Assembly harmonises electoral bill, inserts ‘consensus’ clause

By John Akubo, Msugh Ityokura (Abuja) and Ralph Omololu (Agbana)
26 January 2022   |   4:08 am
The two chambers of the National Assembly, yesterday, harmonised their positions and inserted the “consensus” mode of nominating candidates by political parties for elections in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2010.

National Assembly. Photo/facebook/TopeBrown/NigerianSenate

• Lawan warns political parties on strict adherence
• Kogi medical sciences varsity bill scales first reading

The two chambers of the National Assembly, yesterday, harmonised their positions and inserted the “consensus” mode of nominating candidates by political parties for elections in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2010.

While the Senate from the onset included the clause, the House of Representatives adopted only direct and indirect primary methods of selection.

The lower legislative chamber, nevertheless, reversed itself, concurring with the position of the Red Chamber. President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the piece of legislation, urging insertion of consensus clause in the bill.

Accordingly, he House suspended its rules and dissolved into the committee of the whole, presided over by the Chairman and Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to unanimously adopt and harmonise the proposed law.

Briefing reporters after plenary, spokesman for the House, Benjamin Kalu, explained that the new version of the bill would be transmitted to the President in seven days.

He further clarified that Clause 84 Sub Section 9 of the bill seeks a written consent by aspirants for an election, without which direct or indirect primary as the case may be, will be considered for the sake of transparency

Kalu insisted that the harmonisation was effected in deference to nation building, a joint task and collective responsibility of all

According to him, the selection options to be adopted by political parties are not blanket, but have conditions to be met for the sake of fairness and transparency.

SIMILARLY, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has warned political parties against flouting provisions of the law, threatening that the erring ones stand the chance of not participating in the elections.

He said: “If this bill is signed into law, it will have the responsibility of ensuring that political parties follow the law, otherwise they will end up missing their opportunity to participate in elections.

At yesterday’s plenary, Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya Abubakar, sponsored a motion titled, ‘Rescission on Clause 84 of the Electoral Act No.6 2010(Amendment) Bill, 2022 and committal to the committee of the whole.

Relying on Order 1(b) and Order 52(a) of its extant rules, the upper legislative chamber resolved to rescind its decision on the affected clause and re-commit same to the committee of the whole for re-consideration and passage.

THIS is even as the Senate passed the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Egbe, Kogi State Establishment Bill for second reading. 

Sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West), the bill was one of the five fresh ones introduced in the hallowed chamber yesterday.

There have been agitations for the establishment of six federal universities of medical sciences in the six geo-political zones of the country. 

Addressing the plenary during the presentation of the bill titled, ‘Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Egbe, Kogi State (Establishment) Bill, 2022 (SB. 896)’ listed as item three on the order paper and business of the day, Adeyemi, among other things, backed his argument for the citing of the university in Egbe on the availability of the “massive medical facility” at the 70-year- old Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA Hospital), located in the area.

Established in 1951 by the Canada-based Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), the 121-bed multi-service complex comprises approximately 33 acres with 68 buildings, including a College of Nursing and Midwifery.