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BREAKING: Senate Includes Indirect Primary & Consensus on Electoral Bill

The Senate has re-amended the controversial Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, passed by the National Assembly on November 18, 2021 to accommodate indirect and consensus for party primaries.

Special Assistant to the Senate President, Ezrel Tabiowo made this known in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the chamber, in Clause 84(2) of the report, approved direct, indirect primaries or consensus as procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions.

The Senate also approved in Clause 84(3) that “a political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party.”

According to him, Clause 84(4) provides that “a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure outlined below; (a) In the case of nominations to the position of Presidential candidate, a political party shall, (i) hold special conventions in each of the 36 states of the federation and FCT, where delegates shall vote for each of the aspirants at designated centres in each State Capital on specified dates.”

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The clause, however, provides that a National Convention shall be held for the ratification of the candidate with the highest number of votes.

Recall that the President, Muhammadu Buhari had signified withholding his assent on the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2021, which the National Assembly had passed and forwarded to him on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), sponsored a motion for the re-commital to the Committee of the Whole.

Senator Abdullahi noted that the reason for withholding assent was the President’s observation in Clause 84.

He noted that it would also impact negatively the rights of citizens to participate in government as constitutionally ensured.

He said the President was advised by relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government who had a thorough review of the Bill

The motion for re-commital of the bill to the Committee of the Whole was against the backdrop of the “need to address the observation by Mr President C-in-C and make necessary amendment in accordance with Order 87(c) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (as amended); and relying on order 1(b) and 52(6) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 ( as amended),” Senator Abdullahi explained.

Accordingly, the reds chamber rescinded its decision on the affected Clause of the Bill as passed and recommit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.

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