Reps move to stop INEC officials from contesting elective positions
CISLAC, lawmaker fault N’Assembly on planned recess
The House of Representatives has initiated proceedings aimed at stopping officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from contesting elective positions within five years of their disengagement from the electoral body.
Its Bill sponsored by Wale Raji had sought to amend the Electoral Act to ban electoral officers from engaging in partisan politics within five years of retirement, resignation or disengagement.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, referred to the Bill, which sought to create a new sub-section 2 (section 146) of the principal legislation to the House Committee on INEC for further legislative scrutiny.
While leading debate on the Bill, Raji argued that the move would avert a situation where electoral officials would take undue advantage of their knowledge of the inner workings of INEC to sway election results in their favour.
He said with the kind of information available to a National Electoral Commissioner and the Resident Electoral Commissioner (RECs) during their service not available to members of the public, give such former employees of the commission who contest in elections an advantage.
“It has become imperative to restrict them from participating or aspiring for elective positions for at least five years after their disengagement from the commission. This will ensure that such officers lose touch with recent happenings in INEC before they are allowed to contest elections,” he added.
He cited the case of former Cross River State REC, Dr. Frankland Briyal, who resigned to contest the governorship race in Bayelsa State, adding, “ His action did not escape criticism, but it caused discomfort in the political party and a national embarrassment for the electoral system.
Meanwhile, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has faulted moves by the National Assembly to embark on a two-month recess. Representative of Toro constituency in Bauchi State at the House, Muda Lawal Umar, asked his colleagues to skip the recess in the interest of the country.
Also, CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the country was in dire need of legislative intervention to ensure good governance.“Nigeria is under emergency since the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires the National Assembly members to support the government to ensure effective governance through legislative oversight and enactment of pending bills,” he stated.
Umar enjoined his colleagues to suspend the annual recess in the interest of the country, adding that electoral and constitutional reforms were some of the pressing issues that deserved the lawmakers’ immediate attention.
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