Polls Reshuffle: National Assembly Passes Bill, Removes Controversial Clauses

 Polls Reshuffle: National Assembly Passes Bill, Removes Controversial Clauses

The Senate on Thursday passed the Independent National Electoral Commission Act Amendment Bill without the clause that seeks to reshuffle the order of polls in a general election.

Also referred to as the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, its passage by the Senate was in concurrence with the House of Representatives, which had earlier passed an edited version of the bill.

Clauses, on which President Muhammadu Buhari based the withdrawal of his assent to the bill, including that of polls reordering, were removed from the second version.

The clause, which generated controversy, had polarised the Senate and particularly divided the majority All Progressives Congress caucus.

Adopting the report by the Senate Committee on INEC, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, noted that the controversial clauses in the bill had been pulled out of the new version.

Ekweremadu said, “Before we go into the consideration, let me make some quick clarifications. One is that when we passed the Electoral Act earlier in the year, the President returned it with observations.

“From the report we have here, it means that those areas that appear to be controversial or where the President had some issues… No matter how we feel, whether we like it or not, whether we believe in what he said or not, that is not the issue now. What is important now is that to save the other provisions (clauses), our committee resolved to remove those aspects. They may come up some other time but for now, they are not part of this process. Those have been removed to make the rest non-controversial.”

The Deputy Senate President also urged the lawmakers not to call for alterations in the bill as it had already been passed by the House and would require that the process be reversed if corrections had to be made.

Tolani Giwa

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