Senate moves to amend Electoral Act

The Senate, on Tuesday, passed three different bills seeking amendments to Electoral Act 2010 and committed the bills to its standing committees.

The bills, including the one sponsored by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Senastor Abu Ibrahim and Alkali Jajere, were seeking among other things to stop the appointment of the Secretary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the Chairman of the Commission; powers for INEC to issue duplicate voter cards before election as well as powers to determine voting procedure and conduct elections in one day.

The bills are also seeking to cause the electoral body to conduct debate for candidates for the office of the President.

Besides, the amendments are also seeking to compel INEC to conduct elections six months before the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent.

One of the bills also seeks to ensure that bye elections hold twice in a year.

Though the bills passed through second reading, senators expressed divergent views during the debate on general principles.

A number of senators supported the use to biometrics and electronic voting to eliminate ballot snatching and vote manipulation.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Lawan, however, declared that INEC should be left to move at its pace in respect of the electronic voting issue.

He said that the commission had stated that it was not ready for electronic voting, adding that lawmakers should not impose the idea on the Commission when it was not ready.

Senators Victor Ndoma Egba, Mathew Nwagwu and Enyinnaya Abaribe, however, supported the idea of electronic voting, adding that the idea will make voting credible.

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