The Senate has amended and passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The lawmakers rescinded their decision on a clause in the bill.
Clause 87, deals with the mode of primary election to be used by political parties to select candidates for elective offices.
In the bill earlier passed by the National Assembly, the lawmakers prescribed that political parties use only a direct mode of primary.
But President Muhammadu Buhari had in December, rejected the bill, making his reservations on Clause 87.
The president had cited insecurity, the cost of conducting direct primaries and infringement on the rights of Nigerians to participate in governance as his reasons for declining assent.
He, however, said he would sign the bill if changes are made to the Clause, to include the addition of consensus candidates and indirect primary options to the mode of selecting a candidate for an election.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers amended the bill.
In a motion to recommit the bill to the Committee of the Whole, the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, prayed that the Senate “rescind its decision on the affected Clause of the bill as passed and recommit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.”
He recalled that the president withheld assent to the bill based on his observation in Clause 84.
Mr Yahaya also said there was a need to address the observation by Mr Buhari and make necessary amendments in accordance with Order 87(C) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (as amended); and also relying on orders 1(b) and 52(6) of the same Orders.
This Order allows the Senate to reconsider the substantive motion for rescission.
In the Committee of the Whole, the lawmakers adopted Clause 84 of the bill, which reads “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold direct or indirect primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which may be monitored by the Commission.”
Clause 84(2) of the report recommended direct, indirect primaries or consensus as procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions.
The Senate adopted Clause 84(3) which states 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 part.”
While Clause 84(4) now provides that “a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure below;
– In the case of nominations to the position of Presidential candidate, a political party shall 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.”
The Clause also provides that a national convention shall be held for the ratification of the candidate with the highest number of votes.
There was no reaction or contribution from any lawmaker as the senators unanimously adopted the recommendations.
The amended Clause in the bill will be harmonised with the House of Representatives and afterwards, transmitted to the president for assent.
The Senate President assured on Tuesday that the National Assembly will amend and pass the bill on Wednesday.
He spoke after a meeting with Mr Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
This is the second time the Senate will reverse itself on major provisions of the Electoral Bill.
In July, it had empowered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly to determine the use of electronic transmission of results in an election.
In October, the upper chamber revisited the bill to approve electronic transmission of election results apparently due to public outcry.
The Senate adopted the version of the bill passed by the House and changed the clause from: “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable” to: “The commission may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.”
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