Like the Senate did on Tuesday, the House of Representatives is set to amend the Electoral Act, 2022.
The lower chamber of the National Assembly has fixed Wednesday for plenary session to rejig the Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on 25th February.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Danzaria said the lawmakers would convene to amend “a fundamental error” in the Act.
The Senate amended Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, which recognises statutory delegates for indirect primaries.
The Bill, sponsored by the Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) was considered and passed by the upper chamber on Tuesday.
In the current Electoral Act, statutory delegates are not recognised.
Statutory delegates include the President, Vice President, National and State Assembly members, Governors and their deputies, Chairmen of Councils, Councillors, National Working Committee of political parties, Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of political parties amongst others.
According to the Electoral Act: ” A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its Constitution and rule the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting”.
The proposed amendment will include in the Act, “in addition to statutory delegates prescribed in the Constitution of the party”.
Danzaria’s statement explained that the “session has become necessary especially as to amend a fundamental error in the Electoral Act”.
From when President Buhari appended his signature to the bill, the Electoral Act has generated controversies, including the plot to remove Section 84(12) which is a subject of judicial review.
It is unclear if the President will sign the bill before the commencement of primaries by most of the political parties ahead of the 3rd June deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Earlier on Tuesday, INEC had rejected the request by the political parties to extend the deadline for the conduct of primaries to 4th July.
In the upper chamber on Tuesday, the expeditious consideration of the review followed the suspension of relevant Senate Rules to pave the way for the first, second and third readings of the bill same day.
Titled, “A bill for an Act to Amend the 2022 Electoral Act No. 13 and for other Related Matters, 2022 (SB 1002),” the sponsor of the amendment, Omo-Agege said the amendment became necessary to correct an ‘unintended error’ in the Electoral Act.
“As couched, Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 does not provide for the participation of what is generally known as ‘statutory delegates’ in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.
“The extant subsection only clearly provides for the participation of elected delegates in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties held to nominate candidates of political parties.
“This is an unintended error, and we can only correct it with this amendment now before us”, he said.
Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central) second the motion and said that it would ensure that statutory delegates were not disenfranchised in the primaries of political parties to elect candidates for the 2023 General Election.