‘Why INEC wants quick review of Electoral Act’

Following their victories at the February 16 National Assembly election, lawmakers-elect were Thursday issued with their Certificate of Returns affirming them qualified to form the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of |Nigeria. Patrick Andrew writes.

Quick action on Electoral Act

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged Senators-elect to commence and conclude work on the review of the electoral legal framework early, ahead of the 2023 General Elections.

Why Buhari declined assent

December last year, President Muhammadu Buhari declined to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill the fourth time and has transmitted his decision to both arms of the National Assembly.

In a statement by Mr Enang conveying his decision, Mr Buhari gave reasons for his decline: “Mr. President is declining assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill due to some drafting issues that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the Bill.’’

“Mr. President invites the Senate and House of Representatives to address these issues as quickly as possible so that he may grant President Assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.

“There is a cross-referencing error in the proposed amendment to Section 18 of the Bill. The appropriate amendment is to substitute the existing sub-section (2) with the proposed subsection (1A), while the proposed sub-section (1B) is the new sub-section (2A)’

“The proposed amendment included a new Section 87 (14) which stipulates a specific period within which political party primaries are required to be held has the unintended consequence of leaving INEC with only 9 days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections.

“This is because the Electoral Amendment Bill does not amend sections 31, 34 and 85 which stipulates times for the submission of lists of candidates, publication of lists of candidates and notice of convention, congresses for nominating candidates for elections.”

INEC and 2023

INEC chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu then said Thursday at a ceremony for the issuance of Certificate of Return to senators-elect at the International Conference Centre, Abuja that it would necessary to expedite action to reform the electoral processes.

When the president assent, many had applauded the decision on the grounds that the time was too short to effect meaningful changes especially since it would require adjustments in INEC timetable more so as the scheduled had been fixed some two years earlier.

Further, they had argued that it would affect the May 29 handover date even as many thought it was a ploy by the main opposition PDP to effect interim government.

Nonetheless, Yakubu said that late conclusion of the review of the electoral law would affect the commission’s implementation of the framework.

He said that as a matter of urgency, the commission would begin work on post 2019 elections review and road map to 2023.

“There is a lot of work but very little time available. As a process governed by law, the success of election in Nigeria depends to a large extent on the electoral legal framework and most importantly, in ensuring adherence to the law.

“I want to assure you that we will continue to work with the National Assembly to review and strengthen our Electoral Law.

“But I want to appeal to the Senators-elect to please start work early and conclude work on the electoral framework in good time well ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“The tendency to delay electoral reform, particularly the review of the electoral framework, until it is too close to the elections, leaves the commission with little time to develop processes including regulations and guidelines, make required consultation with stakeholders, embark on effective voter education including sensitisation, train staff and organise deployment for the elections.

“I am glad that among the senators-elect are senators that we have worked very closely with and some of them have taken initiative or even sponsoring private member bills to advance the cause of electoral reform,” he said.

The chairman said that the commission looked forward to working very closely with the senators-elect in deepening the country’s electoral process and congratulated the lawmakers for their election victory and willingness to serve the nation.

100 certificates of return

Meanwhile, about 100 senators-elect declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were issued their certificates of return affirming them as the senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and therefore qualified to be inaugurated on June 9 by the President and Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the results officially announced for the February 23 National Assembly elections across the country, the APC won 63 seats while the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 37 seats.

The Young Progressive Party (YPP) is the only other party outside of the two dominant ones that’ll resume to the 9th Senate with only one seat.

The upper legislative chamber has a total of 109 seats with 3 Senators from each of the 36 states plus one from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

As of the time of publishing, INEC has not yet officially listed the winners of 101 seats with the results of supplementary elections held for seven of those seats yet to be officially announced.

Of the 100 seats that have gone to the APC, PDP or YPP, the candidate for Bauchi South is yet to be determined although the seat has been won by the APC.

Also, the seat for the Imo West Senatorial district is also currently up in the air because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has determined that its official was forced to announce the state’s outgoing governor, Rochas Okorocha, as the winner.

The list of Senators-elect for the 9th senate:

1. Kalu Orji Uzor (APC) – Abia North

2. Orji Theodore Ahamefule (PDP) – Abia Central

3. Abia South – Pending (Supplementary)

4. Ishaku Elisha Cliff (PDP) – Adamawa North

5. Yaroe Binos Dauda (PDP) – Adamawa South

6. Dahiru Aishatu Ahmed (APC) – Adamawa Central

7. Akpan Bassey Albert (PDP) – Akwa Ibom North East

8. Christopher Stephen Ekpenyong (PDP) – Akwa Ibom North West

9. Eyakenyi Akon Etim (PDP) – Akwa Ibom South

10. Stella Oduah (PDP) – Anambra North

11. Uche Lilian Ekwunife (PDP) – Anambra Central

12. Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP) – Anambra South

13. Bauchi South – APC (Candidate to be determined by court order)

14. Jika Dauda Halliru (APC) – Bauchi Central

15. Bulkachuwa Adamu Muhammad (APC) – Bauchi North

16. Degi Eremienyo Biobaraku Wangagra (APC) – Bayelsa East

17. Diri Douye (PDP) – Bayelsa Central

18. Ewhrudjakpo Lawrence (PDP) – Bayelsa West

19. Gabriel Suswam (PDP) – Benue North East

20. Emmanuel Yisa Orker-Jev (PDP) – Benue North West

21. Patrick Abba Moro (PDP) – Benue South

22. Kyari Abubakar Shaib (APC) – Borno North

23. Kashim Shettima (APC) – Borno Central

24. Ali Ndume (APC) – Borno South

25. Oko Rose Okoji (PDP) – Cross River North

26. Onor Sandy Ojang (PDP) – Cross River Central

27. Gershom Bassey (PDP) – Cross River South

28. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC) – Delta Central

29. Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP) – Delta North

30. James Ebiowou Manager (PDP) – Delta South

31. Egwu Samuel Ominyi (PDP) – Ebonyi North

32. Ogba Joseph Obinna (PDP) – Ebonyi Central

33. Micheal Ama Nnachi (PDP) – Ebonyi South

34. Ordia Akhimienmona Cliffford (PDP) – Edo Central

35. Alimikhena Francis Asekhame (APC)- Edo North

36. Urhoghide Matthew Aisagbonriodion (PDP)- Edo South

37. Adetunmbi Olubunmi Ayodeji (APC) – Ekiti North

38. Bamidele Micheal Opeyemi (APC) – Ekiti Central

39. Adeyeye Clement Adebayo (APC) – Ekiti South

40. Nnamani Chimaroke Ogbonnia (PDP) – Enugu East

41. Ike Ekweremadu (PDP) – Enugu West

42. Utazi Godfrey Chukwuka (PDP) – Enugu North

43. Danjuma Goje (APC) – Gombe Central

44. Amos Bulus Kilawangs (APC) – Gombe South

45. Alkali Saidu Ahmed (APC) – Gombe North

46. Onyewuchi Ezenwa Francis (PDP) – Imo East

47. Imo West – Pending (Declaration made under duress)

48. Imo North – Ben Uwajumogu

49. Mohammed Sabo (APC) – Jigawa South West

50. Hassan Ibrahim Hadeija (APC) – Jigawa North East

51. Sankara Danladi Abdullahi (APC) – Jigawa North West

52. Kwari Suleiman Abdu (APC) – Kaduna North

53. Sani Uba (PDP) – Kaduna Central

54. Laah Danjuma Tella (APC) – Kaduna South

55. Ibrahim Shekarau (APC) – Kano Central

56. Barau Jibrin (APC) – Kano North

57. Gaya Ibrahim Kabiru (APC) – Kano South

58. Babba Ahmad Kaita (APC) – Katsina North

59. Mandiya Bello (APC) – Katsina South

60. Abdullahi Kabir (APC) – Katsina Central

61. Abdullahi Abubakar Yahaya (APC) – Kebbi North

62. Adamu Mainasara Aliero Muhammad (APC) – Kebbi Central

63. Na Allah Bala Ibn (APC) – Kebbi South

64. Yakubu Oseni (APC) – Kogi Central

65. Kogi East – Pending (Supplementary)

66. Dino Melaye (PDP) – Kogi West

67. Umar Suleiman Sadiq (APC) – Kwara North

68. Oloriegbe Yahaya Ibrahim (APC) – Kwara Central

69. Ashiru Oyelola Yisa (APC) – Kwara South

70. Remi Tinubu (APC) – Lagos Central

71. Osinowo Sikiru Adebayo (APC) – Lagos East

72. Adeola Soloman Olamilekan (APC) – Lagos West

73. Akwashiki Godiya (APC) – Nasarawa East

74. Abdullahi Adamu (APC) – Nasarawa North

75. Tanko Al-Makura (APC) – Nasarawa South

76. Mohammed Sani Musa (APC) – Niger East

77. Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi (APC) – Niger North

78. Bima Muhammad Enagi (APC) – Niger South

79. Ibikunle Amosun (APC) – Ogun Central

80. Mustapha Ramoni Olalekan (APC) – Ogun East

81. Odebiyi Tolulope Akinremi (APC) – Ogun West

82. Boroface Robert Ajayi (APC) – Ondo North

83. Akinyelure Patrick Ayo (PDP) – Ondo Central

84. Ondo South – Pending (Supplementary)

85. Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru (APC) – Osun Central

86. Fadahunsi Francis Adenigba (PDP) – Osun East

87. Oriolowo Adelere Adeyemi (APC) – Osun West

88. Folarin Teslim Kolawole (APC) – Oyo Central

89. Buhari Abdulfatai (APC) – Oyo North

90. Kola Ademola Balogun (PDP) – Oyo South

91. Plateau South – Pending (Supplementary)

92. Dimka Hezekiah Ayuba (APC) – Plateau Central

93. Gyang Istifanus Dung (PDP) – Plateau North

94. Rivers East – Pending (Supplementary)

95. Mpigi Barinada (PDP) – Rivers South East

96. Rivers West – Pending (Supplementary)

97. Gobir Ibrahim Abdullahi (APC) – Sokoto East

98. Aliyu Wamakko (APC) – Sokoto North

99. Shehu Abubakar Tambuwal (APC) – Sokoto South

100. Bwacha Emmanuel (PDP) – Taraba South

101. Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC) – Taraba Central

102. Isa Shuaibu Lau (PDP) – Taraba North

103. Gaidam Ibrahim Alhaji (APC) – Yobe East

104. Ahmed Lawan (APC) – Yobe North

105. Bomai Ibrahim Mohammed (APC) – Yobe South

106. Kaura Tijjani Yahaya (APC) – Zamfara North

107. Aliyu Ikra Bilbis (APC) – Zamfara Central

108. Abdul’aziz Yari (APC) – Zamfara West

109. Tanimu Philip Aduda (PDP) – FCT

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