Electoral Bill: Lawan assures Buhari’s assent as Reps, Senate concur on consensus

Senate President Ahmad Lawan

The House of Representatives Tuesday concurred with Senate’s position on consensus as one of the modes of primary elections for emergence of political parties’ candidates.

Recall that the National Assembly had in November last year, transmitted the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

But the President as stated in separate letters addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila in December last year, refused assent to the bill on account of mandatory Direct Primaries recommended for political parties without options.

Accordingly on resumption last week, both the Senate and the House of Representatives, expunged clause 87(2) which contained the provisions and replaced it with clause 84 which widened the option.

But while the Senate in clause 84, makes provision for three options of Direct, Indirect and Consensus as possible modes of primary elections political parties can use in electing their candidates for general elections, the House’s version limited the options to Direct and Indirect primaries.

In getting the re – amended bill transmitted to the President for assent within available time frame ahead of the 2023 general elections, the House as announced in plenary Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has concurred with Senate’s version of amendment at joint leadership meeting of both chambers.

Accordingly in line with legislative procedures, the Senate as listed on its Order Paper, re – adopted its earlier position on the amendment but added details of steps that must be taken by any political party using the consensus options.

In giving the harmonized clause required final adoption in the Senate, the Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, moved a motion to that effect.

“It is our strong conviction that Mr President will assent to the bill when transmitted to him,” he said.

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