Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, decried the non assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed in the 8th Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, the House said it would accord priority to the amendment of the Electoral Act, in the 9th Assembly, to ensure that elections in the country meet international standards.
The chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Aisha Dukku, stated this in Abuja, at the inaugural meeting of the committee.
According to Dukku, the National Assembly made several attempts to give the country a new electoral law in the 8th Assembly. However, all the efforts were unfruitful as President Buhari repeatedly declined assent to the bill, citing various reasons.
“It is important to remind honourable members that during the life span of the 8th Assembly, 12 bills seeking to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the Electoral Act Amendment Act 2015 sponsored by members of the House of Representatives were referred to the House Committee on Electoral matters after subsequent second reading for further legislative actions.
“The National Assembly passed the Electoral Act (amendment) bill 2018 and forwarded same to the president for his assent pursuant to Section 58(4)of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended.
“However, the president declined assent due to a lacuna or drafting issues in some of the clauses of the bill and advised that those observation be addressed.
“The president’s observation were accordingly addressed and the bill was again passed in December 2018 and later in April 2019 following another decline to assent by the president inter alia,” she stated.
The lawmaker noted that there are a number of fundamental shortcomings in the electoral act that need to addressed in order to make it fully in line with global standards for elections.
“As it stands the Electoral Act amendment bill is still hanging, hence there is a need for this committee to bring it up because there are several important amendment that will improve our electoral process.
“I wish to assure all Nigerians that the House Committee on Electoral Matters is fully ready and will do everything within its powers to improve and strengthen the conduct of elections in Nigeria,” Dukku added.