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National Assembly rejigs electoral bill, reaffirms card reader

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President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

• Buhari, Oshiomhole, Tinubu, others rally for Oyetola in Osun
• Saraki, Wike, Tambuwal in fresh attacks on APC govt

The National Assembly has amended the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.

President Buhari, while refusing assent to the third version of the document, had listed about 14 contentious areas he wanted the lawmakers to address.

His observations were noted yesterday in the fourth version of the bill adopted by the joint committee of the National Assembly on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The affected sections, as announced by the chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif (PDP Bauchi North), are 9 (1A), 9 (B5), 18 (1-4), 19 (4), 30 (1), 31 (1) and 31 (7). Others are 36 (3), 44 (3-4), 67 (a-d), 87 (2), 87 (14) and 1124.

While section 9 (1A) deals with voter register in electronic format and manual or hard copy format, section 18 (14) deals with the process of replacement of voter cards by INEC, which must not be done less than 30 days before election.

Section 36 (3) of the adopted bill makes provision for constitutional solution to problems that may arise if a candidate dies suddenly, as it happened in the 2016 Kogi gubernatorial election.

The section states: “If after the commencement of poll and before the announcement of the final result and declaration of a winner, the leading candidate dies, (a) the commission shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, suspend the election for a period not exceeding 21 days; (b) the political party whose candidate died may, if it intends to continue to participate in the election, conduct a fresh primary within seven days of the death of its candidate and submit a new candidate to replace the dead; (c) subject to paragraphs (a) and (b), the commission shall continue with the election, announce the final result and declare a winner.”

Nazif explained that at no time was provision for the use of card reader deleted in any of the versions of the electoral bills. According to him, the adopted fourth electoral bill is a harmonised version of the second and third.

Buhari meanwhile has urged the people of Osun State to vote for Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s governorship election.

At a mega rally in Osogbo, he said the decision would sustain the good works of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, which according to him include massive infrastructural development, educational innovations and quality health care delivery.

He told the crowd of supporters not to bring back the dark days of infrastructural decay, corruption, ineptitude and careless attitude to the growth and development of human and material resources.

“We are here to thank God Almighty for the successful work done by Governor Rauf Aregbesola. Oyetola is a partner, a brother and a colleague of Aregbesola. By electing Oyetola, you are guaranteeing and consolidating the successes recorded by Aregbesola,” Buhari said.

In his remarks, APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, stressed: “We need somebody with passion for development. We need somebody that has brains. We need people with character. We need people who are committed to the growth and development of Osun. These we can find in Oyetola.”

Party chieftains including national leader, Bola Tinubu, and APC state governors were at the event.

Stalwarts in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), however, sustained their criticism of the Buhari administration yesterday with presidential aspirant, Bukola Saraki, calling for the leader’s removal.

Earlier on Monday night, he had appeared before leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum in Abuja, where he unveiled his plans for the country if he is elected.

The senate president told supporters in Abeokuta, Ogun State, that Buhari lacks clues on good governance and has sharply divided the country.

“It is time not to vote for sentiments but for someone that can perform. I believe I have the capacity, ability and track record,” he said.

Also, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike accused Buhari of mischievously sponsoring some PDP presidential aspirants, stressing that the people of the state would not be deceived into backing any candidate with compromised credentials.

This came as Sokoto State governor and PDP presidential aspirant, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, also accused Buhari of failing to curb the insurgency in the northeast and of aggravating poverty.

Tambuwal told supporters in Birnin Kebbi that the Federal Government’s anti-graft agencies were allegedly resorting to blackmail and intimidation to frustrate his ambition.


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