House of Reps Pass Electoral Amendment Bill, Sets Limits For Election Funds

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill the Electoral Acts Amendment Bill despite series of rejection and upheavals about the bill. The passage of the bill came just a day after the Senate passed a similar bill.

Citing constitutional and drafting issues, President Mohammed Buhari has refused to give assent to an earlier version of the bill

To pass the bill, the House adopted a report by the House of Representatives committee and a joint Senate on the bill, which was presented by Aisha Dukku.

Presenting the fourth version of the bill, Mrs. Dukku explained that the bill will make provisions for the use of card readers and other technological devices that will aid the election process. She added that the bill will also provide a timeline for the submission of the list of candidates as stipulated in Section 31(6) and 85(1) of the bill.

The bill is meant to identify criteria for substitution of candidates, limits of campaign expenses as well as addressing problems related to the omission of names of candidates or logo of political parties.” The House went straight to consider the ten observations raised by the president. “Clause 4, amends Section 18 of the Principal Act which deals with erroneous cross-references made in the Bill that was sent earlier for assent.

Clause 10, amends Section 36 (3) of the Principal Act that deals with qualifying language. “Clause 14, amends Section 49 (4) of the Principal Act that deals with the failure of a card reader.

Where a smart card reader deployed for accreditation of Voters fails to function in any polling unit and a fresh card reader is not deployed 3 hours before the close of the election in that unit, then the election shall not hold but be rescheduled and conducted within 24 hours thereafter, provided that where the total possible votes from all the affected card readers in the unit or units does not affect the overall result in the constituency or election concerned, the commission shall notwithstanding the fact that a fresh card reader is not deployed as stipulated, announce the final results and declare a winner.”

“Clause 24, amends Section 87 (13) 0f the Principal Act that deals with the issue of a deadline for primary election. The dates of the Primaries shall not be earlier than 150 days and not later than 90 days before the date of the election to the elective offices.”

“This is because the earlier Electoral Act Amendment Bill did not properly amend Sections 31, 33 and 85 of the principal Act that stipulate times for submission of lists of candidates, publication 0f lists of candidates, notice of conventions and congresses tor nominating candidates for elections.”

“Clause 32, amends Section 140 (4) 0f the Principal Act that deals with the omission of the name of a candidate or logo of a political party.” The other sections of the main electoral act that were amended are 31, 33, 34, 38, 44, 67,76, 78, 82, 85, 87,91, 99, 112, 120,138, 143, 151, and the Schedule.

House Sets Limit For Election Funds

While doing careful cross-checks of the bills, the House agreed to set the limit for campaign funds at 5 billion for the president, 1 billion for the governor, 250 million for the House of Representatives, and 500 million for senatorial elections.

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