Electoral Act amendment bill passes second reading at House Of Reps

                             House of Representatives in session

The bill seeking to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill scaled through for the second time when the lawmakers deliberated on it on Tuesday at the lower house of the National Assembly in Abuja.

According to the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, the bill is expected to be brought for clause by clause consideration on Wednesday.

The lawmakers passed the bill barely one week after the Senate passed its own version of the proposed amendment.

President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill three times over the re-ordering of the sequence of elections in the country.

Since the return to democracy, presidential and National Assembly elections have been conducted on the same day before other polls, while the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections follow.

In February, however, lawmakers at the National Assembly amended the sequence such that the National Assembly polls would be conducted first, followed by the state lawmakers and the governors while the presidential election should take place last.

Declining his assent to the bill, President Buhari stated that the amendment to section 138 of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the right of candidates to a free and fair electoral review process.

He added that the amendment to section 152 (325) of the Principal Act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.

In September, the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Electoral Matters said it has produced the fourth version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

According to the chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif, the new bill has addressed the concerns raised by the President.
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