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Governorship Elections: New Electoral Act for Anambra, Ekiti polls

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The National Assembly will pass the amended Electoral Act 2010 by the first quarter of next year, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said on Wednesday.

He hopes it will regulate the off-season governorship elections in Ekiti and Anambra states, and the 2023 general election.

Lawan spoke while opening a public hearing on “A Bill for an Act to repeal the Electoral Act No.6, 2010 (as amended) and enact the Independent National Electoral Commission Act, 2020”.

The hearing was organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters in Abuja.

He said the new Electoral Act would improve the 2023 elections.

Lawan said: “By the Grace of God, we will work so hard to pass it before the end of the first quarter of next year.”

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The Senate President said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which passage has been delayed, will be prioritised.

According to him, the target is to pass the PIB before the end of the second quarter of 2021.

He said: “In the ninth Assembly, we have set a legislative agenda in the Senate. They have one in the House.

“Although they are similar, we have consistently remained focused on the Electoral Act amendment and Constitution amendment that may also refine the Electoral Act and the political environment generally.

“Alongside the Electoral Act which is settled, the PIB which is very important will equally receive similar treatment. We will pass the PIB before the second quarter of next year.”

House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by the Deputy Leader of the House, Peter Akpatason, emphasised the need to strengthen the electoral processes.

“There is an expectation that the National Assembly will lead the way in taking legislative action to deliver big, fundamental, and structural changes across the electoral process from nomination through to inauguration,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday swore in Prof Mahmood Yakubu for a second term as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The swearing-in ceremony took place in the Executive Council Chambers of the State House before the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

Yakubu told reporters: “We have demonstrated in recent elections that elections are getting better and they will continue to get better.

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“The National Assembly is holding a public hearing on the amendment of the electoral legal framework.

“This is important and this time around, working with the National Assembly, we’ll ensure a speedy passage of the amendment bill and once it is assented to, it will help us enormously in confronting the challenges ahead.

“The preparations for 2023 general elections have proceeded in earnest. We need certainty and, therefore, the electoral legal framework is fundamental, without which we cannot formulate our regulations and guidelines.

“Without our regulations and guidelines, we cannot conclude work on the manual for the training of ad-hoc staff for the elections.”

Buhari reappointed Yakubu for another five-year term on October 27.

He is the first INEC chairman to be reappointed.

The bill proposes N5billion as expenses by presidential candidates and N1billion by governorship candidates.

National Assembly candidates are not to spend more than N70-N100million and state Assembly as well as Local Government Area Chairmanship candidates, N30 million.

Besides, the Bill seeks to make the use of functional card readers compulsory in future elections in the country.

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