Senate President
Senate President Ahmad Lawan

‘Heads of Legislature can’t help Nigerians with Electoral Act Amendment’

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Senate’s President Lawan absolves Presiding officers of Responsibility in Law Reforms

As Nigerians look up to the 2023 general elections, it appears they will be stuck with the controversial caveat in the Electoral Act which ‘prohibits’ electronic transmission of election results — even when electronic voting could be adopted.

Ahmed Lawan, head of the Nigerian Legislature and president of the Senate, the apex law-making organ, dropped the bomshell on Monday.

Lawan said, rather than continue to put pressure on presiding officers of the Legislature, Nigerians should look to their representatives in the two chambers to resolve their concerns.
“Presiding officers cannot determine outcome of Electoral Act amendment,” Lawan said.
“They are not in any position to determine the outcome of amendments to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill under consideration.”

Notwithstanding, Prime Business Africa would recall that leaders of the National Assembly had, in the past, wielded more than active control of what got discussed or successfully passed on the floor of both chambers through the gavel or the limits of their influennce on appointment of committee leadership and membership.

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Electoral Act Ammendment became a matter of concern on social media platforms in the past few weeks. Lawan’s position came on the heels of insinuations that the leadership of the legislative arm of government was bent on accommodating contentious clauses in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill presently before it. The vexious clause in the proposed amendment would ‘prohibit’ electronic transmission of election results.

Lawan spoke in Abuja during the inauguration and swearing-in ceremony of the chief commissioner and commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission and disclosed that the upper chamber would consider the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill within the next two weeks upon presentation of a report by the Committee on INEC.

He, however, advised Nigerians to engage their representatives in both chambers of the National Assembly on whatever issues they feel strongly about in the bill.
“It is very important that those who feel very strongly about any amendment that they think should be effected in the Electoral Act should contact or talk to their members of the House of Representatives as well as Distinguished Senators,”  Lawan said while stripping the leadership of any responsibility whatsoever.

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“I want to state categorically here that presiding officers are not the ones to determine what is carried or what is not.

“So, it is very important that in the same way, the Public Complaints Commission is utilized properly by the general public.”

The Senate President further charged the newly sworn-in Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission to shun acts that would stifle fairness, transparency and accountability in the discharge of their duties.

Lawan charged that the Commission was a machinery for control of administrative excesses, non-compliance with administrative procedures and abuse of power.

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