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President Muhammadu Buhari

What is new as President Buhari signs Electoral Act Amendment Bill into Law

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President Muhammadu Buhari today signed signs Electoral Act Amendment Bill as amended into Law in Abuja.

The Electoral Act amendment bill 2021 will make provisions for card reader and forbid members of political parties from taking up employment or appointment in INEC.

Electoral Act Amendment Bill: What is new?

Here is the summary of ten key provisions of the new ELECTORAL ACT LAW as signed today by President Buhari.

  1. Clause 29(1) stipulates that parties must conduct primaries and submit their list of candidates at least 180 days before the general elections.
  2. Clause 65 states that INEC can review results declared under duress.
  3. Clause 3(3) states that funds for general elections must be released at least one year before the election.
  4. Clause 51 says that the total number of accredited voters will become a factor in determining over-voting at election tribunals.
  5. Clause 54(2) makes provisions for people with disabilities and special needs.
  6. Clause 47 gives legislative backing for smart card readers and any other voter accreditation technology that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deploy.
  7. Clause 34 gives political parties power to conduct a primary election to replace a candidate who died during an election.
  8. Clause 50 gives INEC the legal backing for electronic transmission of election results.
  9. Clause 94 allows for early commencement of the campaign season. By this provision, the campaign season will now start 150 days to the election day and end 24 hours before the election.
  10. Clause 84 stipulates that anyone holding a political office – ministers, commissioners, special advisers and others – must relinquish the position before they can be eligible to participate in the electoral process either as a candidate or as a delegate.
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What is more?

It also defines over-voting clearly and makes provision for electronic transmission of results.

But it also makes provision to delete the provision for the conduct of indirect primaries in the nomination of party candidates and making direct primaries compulsory for all political parties.

Furthermore, because of the provision of direct primaries for all political parties, President Muhammadu Buhari withheld assent on 22nd December 2021 giving several reasons after receiving informed advice from relevant ministries, departments and agencies.

Among other reasons, the President noted that compulsory direct primaries will lead to the increased cost to political parties and INEC to conduct direct primaries in 8,809 wards across the country; make life difficult for small political parties; overstretch security agencies; violate freedom of choice by political parties and give rise to litigations. The President also noted that it will lead to an increase in vote-buying and that direct primaries are susceptible to manipulation.

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