Electoral Act amendment bill passes second reading

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The Bill to amend the Electoral Act to cover the lacuna associated with death of a candidate in an election before the conclusion of polling passed second reading in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Also passed second reading is a Bill for amendment of Electoral Act 2010 to empower election tribunals and courts to declare candidates who scored second highest votes as winners of elections if the real winner is unqualified.

The bill provides that for the second highest votes scorer to be declared winner, the winner would have been unqualified for the election ab initio.

Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, who moved the motion, said that the bill when amended would go a long way to address contentious issues in the Electoral Act.

He said that it would also allow for deputies to automatically fill vacant office without conflicting issues from the Supreme Court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lower chamber also passed for second reading a bill for an Act to ensure that all political parties were gender sensitive.

Similarly, a bill to include the use of Card Reader as part of the Electoral Act scaled through second reading, with Rep. Edward Pwajok (Plateau-PDP) and Rep. Sunday Karimi (Kogi-PDP), speaking in favour of motion on it.

Before its adoption, Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, opposed it, saying that card reader should be excluded from the Electoral Act.

He argued that the use of the device led to disenfranchisement of many voters in the 2015 elections.
All the bills were referred to the relevant committee for further legislative action. (NAN)

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