The Nigerian Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to reject President Buhari’s executive Bill to amend the recently signed Amendment to Electoral Act 2022, thereby terminating its progression to passage at second reading. The Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2022 and for related matters, 2022,” was under consideration despite
The Nigerian Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to reject President Buhari’s executive Bill to amend the recently signed Amendment to Electoral Act 2022, thereby terminating its progression to passage at second reading.
The Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2022 and for related matters, 2022,” was under consideration despite a Court order on the National Assembly not to alter the Act. But, the Bill has died a natural parliamentary death being unable to cross the hurdle of second reading which would have advanced it to committee level for further legislative action. The bill scaled through first reading on Tuesday – 24 hours earlier.
There was a robust debate at the Senate on Tuesday with Senators debating whether to respect the Court order or not. The Senate President Ahmad Lawan had challenged the Court order saying that the Judiciary cannot in any circumstances stop the Legislature from performing its constitutional duties. While opposition Senators argued that all Court orders are meant to be obeyed until set aside by a higher Court.
The bill seeks to amend Section 84 (12) prevents political office holders from contesting for election from the party primary level without resigning. Specifically, it provides “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at any Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election”
President Buhari had requested this amendment citing conflict with Section 66 (1) (f) of the constitution and disenfranchisement of serving political office holders i.e. voting or being voted for at party conventions/congresses holding earlier than 30 days to the election
Though the same bill is yet to be tabled at the House of Representatives, doing that may not be necessary again if the House takes parliamentary notice of what had happened to the bill in the House of Representatives. Going ahead may be an exercise in futility as the Senate’s concurrence is required for the passage of the bill into law.
The Senate concluded its proceedings today and adjourned plenary to Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
It is yet to be seen how the Senate’s action would be received by President Buhari who wanted to withhold assent to the bill because of this amendment but was persuaded to sign first with a promise that amendments could come later.