Senate amends Electoral Act for statutory delegates to vote at party congresses, primaries
Reps reconvenes to deliberate on legislation
The Senate has amended the Electoral Act 2022 for statutory delegates – all those elected – to participate and vote in conventions, congresses and meetings of political parties.
In what appears to be a major oversight in the new legislation, elected party leaders such as the President, National Assembly members and governors would have been shut out from voting during party primaries.
The amendment came after expeditious consideration of a bill, which scaled first, second and third readings, and was passed during plenary after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.
Those identified as statutory delegates include: the President, Vice President, members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the state Houses of Assembly, council chairmen, councillors and National Working Committees (NWCs) of political parties.
BESIDES, the House of Representatives is reconvening today to rejig the law.
“This is an emergency legislation,” a lawmaker told The Guardian yesterday.
A statement from the Clerk, Yahaya Danzaria, regrets the short notice, urging members’ attendance.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central), sponsored the bill to amend the 2022 Electoral Act No. 13.
While presenting his lead debate, he indicated that the bill was seeking to amend the provision of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act.
According to him, the section “does not provide for the participation of what is generally known as statutory delegates in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.”
Omo-Agege went on: “The extant section only clearly provides for the participation of elected delegates in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties held to nominate candidates of political parties.
“This is an unintended error, and we can only correct it with this amendment now before us.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, noted that the amendment became imperative in view of the deficiency created by the provision.
He said: “The amended Electoral Act of 2022 that we passed this year has a deficiency that was never intended, and that deficiency will deny all statutory delegates in all political parties from participation in congresses and conventions.
“Therefore, such a major and unintended clause has to be amended before the party primaries start in the next eight days. This is an emergency legislation, so to speak.
“Our expectation is that the National Assembly – the two chambers – would finish with the processing of the amendment of this bill between today (yesterday) (in the Senate) and tomorrow (today) (in the House of Representatives) for the executive to assent.
“That is so important to enable every statutory delegate to participate in the party primaries right from the beginning that will start on May 18, 2022.”