Updated: Senators Walk Out Over Electoral Act Amendment

Updated: Senators Walk Out Over Electoral Act Amendment

About a dozen members of the Senate staged a walk-out in protest against the adoption of the report by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on the Amendment to the Electoral Act.

The protesting senators say irrespective of the senate adopting the committee report, they would insist on its reversal.

 They however, alleged that the amendment was targeted at the incumbent President.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, Senator Suleiman Nazif, had presented the report at the plenary on Wednesday.

After the presentation, President of the Senate put the adoption of the report to voice vote, saying there was no need for debate on it as it was from a conference committee which had harmonised the versions of the two chambers.

The Senate on Wednesday adopted the conference committee report of the National Assembly on the 2010 electoral Act as amended.

This followed the consideration of the report on a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and Electoral Act (Amendment) Act 2015.

This is to provide for a time line for submission of list of candidates, sequence of elections and political party primaries, use of technological devices among others.

Chairman of the Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sen. Suleiman Nazif presented the report.

He said “the Conference Committee recommended that the Senate and the House of Representatives do consider and approve the conference committee report on a bill for an act to amend the electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and electoral (Amendment) Act 2015.”

According to Nazif, the Electoral Act No 6, 2010 amendment bill 2017 was passed by the senate on March 30, 2017 and in the House of Representatives on Feb. 1.

“However, some differences were noticed in the two versions of the bill as passed by both chambers.

“Consequently, a conference committee was constituted in the Senate on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2018 and the House of Representatives also on Wednesday Jan. 24, 2018 to reconcile areas of difference that appeared in the two versions.

“The committee met and deliberated on the two versions of the bill. After exhaustive deliberations, the committee noticed noticed seven areas of differences in section 36 (3), 49(2), 53(2), 63(4), 78(4),” he said.

The lawmaker further explained that the committee in considering the House version in sections 25(1) and 8 (9A, a and b) dealing with sequence of elections and political parties primaries, “unanimously adopted the provisions in its entirety to ensure orderliness.”

Contributing, Sen. Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano) said “ we appreciate your concern on the opinion of both sides.

“I will like to raise this issue on point of order 87(c) which stipulates that the conference committee shall deliberate only between the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“The conference committee shall not insert in its report, any matter not committed to it by either the Senate or the House of Representatives.

“Mr President, this report on sequence of elections was never discussed in the Senate. So why are we bringing it here,” Gaya said.

Similarly, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa)  raised a a Constitutional Point of Order.

“Section 76 of the constitution with reference to the matter in discussion stipulates that election to each houses of the National Assembly shall be held on the date to be appointed by INEC,” he said.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki said “as I keep on emphasising, institutions are what are important.

“As senators we have to finish our time and go, we must continue to strengthen institutions and by so doing we must follow the procedures that are also laid at all times.

“For conference report, it has been the procedure and as such with all due respect I have to rule you out of order.

“I know, every politics is local. As much as it is local, we also have to maintain the integrity of these institutions,” Saraki said.

Nigerian Online Newspaper=

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