Rowdy session as Senate joins House in adopting change in election timetable

Nigerian Senate Chambers
Nigerian Senate Chamber used to illustrate the story.

The Senate on Wednesday passed the conference committee report on amendment to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, act.

The passage of the report was followed by dissenting voices calling for points of order within the chamber.

The amendment to the electoral act, if approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, will uphold the change in the order of election as adopted by the lawmakers.

The federal lawmakers want their election held first in 2019, before that of the state lawmakers and state governors, with the last being the presidential election.

In 2015 and since 2003, the presidential and National Assembly polls were held first on the same day, followed by governorship and state legislative polls on the second day of the general elections.

The House of Representatives was first to, on January 23, amend the Electoral Act to change the order of the 2019 general elections.

The change recommended by the lower chamber came barely a month after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the time-table for the general elections.

The amendment by the House was made at the Committee of the whole House, presided over by Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun.

The lawmakers amended the Act while considering the report of the House Committee on Electoral Matters which proposed amendment of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

In the timetable earlier released by INEC, Presidential and National Assembly elections are to hold first, while governorship and state assembly polls are to follow.

The House amended section 25 of the Principal Act and substituted it with a new section 25 (1).

According to the section, the elections shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly election (b) State Houses of Assembly and Governorship elections (c) Presidential election.

Similarly, section 87 was amended by adding a new section 87 (11) with a marginal note “time for primaries of political parties”.

More to come…


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