The House Representatives yesterday deferred on the proposed amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Reyenieju (PDP, Delta), and adjourned debate on the Bill till Tuesday next week.
The proposed amendment is entitled: “A Bill for an Act to further amend the Electoral Act, N0. 6, 2010, to ensure a level-playing field for all participants in the electoral process and a more transparent process of conducting elections in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith”.
Leading debate on the Bill, the lawmaker said the Electoral Act 2010 needed to be amended, to make it more precise and encourage more participation from Nigerians.
Giving details of the proposed items, Reyenieju said the Bill seeks to amend section 2 of the principal Act fixing the tenure of the Secretary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at four years, renewable only once.
The amendment also seeks to empower INEC to accredit observers and monitors during election. It also seeks to vest the power to request the president to deploy soldiers during election in the INEC only.
Contributing, Rep. Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) argued that the Bill is important to the growth of democracy in Nigeria and would ensure free and fair elections, saying there are many sections in the current Electoral Act that make it easy for rigging to take place.
In his contribution, Rep Jerry Mamwe (PDP, Taraba) said it is the responsibility of the lawmakers to ensure that they sanitise the electoral process by amending the Act, to give an enabling environment for all to take part.
Rep. Aminu Shehu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) said the Bill could not have come at a better time, in view of the many anomalies that are in the electoral process, calling on his colleagues to support the amendment.
Others who spoke in favour of the amendment were Rep Fort Dike, the deputy leader, Rep Leo Ogor, minority leader, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila, chairman committee on public service, Rep. Andrew Uchendu and chairman committee on petroleum resources (downstream), Hon. Dakuku Peterside.