By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has announced a six-man committee of senators to reconcile the Senate’s version of the amended Electoral Act with the version passed by the House of Representatives.
The Senate’s conference committee has the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Suleiman Nazif, as Chairman.
Other members of the committee are Senators Shehu Sani, Biodun Olujimi, Hope Uzodinma, Dino Melaye and Peter Nwaoboshi.
The committee is expected to meet with the House of Representatives to harmonize the version of the amended electoral bill before being sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
The Senate had in 2017 passed an amended version of the 2010 Electoral Act.
While the House of Representatives Tuesday amended the Electoral Act to change the order of 2019 general elections’ time table. This came barely a month after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the time-table for the general elections.
With the amendment, the National Assembly election is to hold first, followed by gubernatorial and state assembly polls and presidential election to be conducted last.
The amendment was made at the Committee of the whole House, presided by the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun.
The lawmakers amended the Act while considering the report of the House Committee on Electoral Matters which proposed amendment of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). The House amended section 25 of the Principal Act and substituted it with a new section 25 (1).
According to the section, the elections shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly election (b) State Houses of Assembly and Governorship elections (c) Presidential election.
Similarly, section 87 was amended by adding a new section 87 (11) with a marginal note “time for primaries of political parties”.
“The primaries of political parties shall follow the following sequence (i) State House of Assembly (ii) National Assembly (iii) Governorship, and (iv), President.
“The dates for the above stated primaries shall not be held earlier than 120 days and not later than 90 days before the date of elections to the offices.”
The House also amended section 36 to allow running mates of candidates who die before the conclusion of elections inherit his votes and continue with the process.