SARAKI NAMES ELECTORAL ACT CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
SENATE President Bukola Saraki has announced a six-man committee of senators to reconcile the differences in the Senate’s version of the 2010 amended Electoral Act with the version passed by the House of Representatives passed last week.
The Senate President, who made the announcement on Thursday, said that the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Suleiman Nazif, will chair the Committee.
He named other members of the committee as Senators Shehu Sani, Biodun Olujimi, Hope Uzodinma, Dino Melaye and Peter Nwaoboshi.
According to Saraki, the committee is expected to meet with the House of Representatives to harmonise the version of the amended electoral bill before a clean copy could be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
The Senate had in June 2017 passed an amended version of the 2010 Electoral Act, while the House of Representatives on Tuesday amended the same Electoral Act and further changed the order of 2019 general elections already announced by the INEC.
The decision of the House was coming barely a month after the INEC released the timetable for the 2019 general elections.
The House at a session presided over by Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun is a direct opposite of the one announced by INEC which is to see the Presidential and National Assembly elections come up first, followed by State elections.
The House amended Section 25 of the Electoral Act and substituted same with a new section 25 (1).
According to the new Section, the elections shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly election (b) State Houses of Assembly and Governorship elections (c) Presidential election.
Similarly, section 87 was amended by adding a new section 87 (11) with a marginal note “time for primaries of political parties”.
“The primaries of political parties shall follow the following sequence (i) State House of Assembly (ii) National Assembly (iii) Governorship, and (iv), President.
“The dates for the above-stated primaries shall not be held earlier than 120 days and not later than 90 days before the date of elections to the offices.”
The House also amended section 36 to allow running mates of candidates who die before the conclusion of elections inherit his votes and continue with the process in an apparent move to resolve the sort of logjam that happened in Kogi state in 2015 following the demise of the leading governorship election midway into the elections.