The National Assembly in Nigeria has commenced the process of amending the Electoral Act 2010 ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This was made known during a one day joint public hearing by the Senate committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the House Committee on Electoral Matters.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan while declaring the public hearing open, said that the ninth Assembly is committed to passage of the Electoral Act, before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
According to him, the the will to make positive change depends on the will of the stakeholders; so the public hearing is a actually a welcomed development. “We will always have new emerging challenges when it comes to elections and the electoral process, therefore, we must continue to keep addressing the act to meet up with these challenges”.
“When we have a good electoral system that works, it will give room for a free, transparent, accountable and credible election that will make the looser embrace the election without much rancour”, he said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila noted also in his welcome remarks that, the proper use of technology is necessary in delivering credible election that will give a permanent solution to some of the challenges facing the entire electoral process.
Sources from Civil Society Groups indicate they would be demanding that candidates must be graduates to qualify and that INEC’s must handle the processes of elections more transparently than it is at the moment.
Recall that the Electoral Act was similarly amended by the 8th Senate which was not assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari for undisclosed reasons before the end of that session.
The one day public hearing is focusing on A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 (As Amended, 2015) and Enact the Independent National Electoral Commission Act, 2020
The public hearing which is well attended by the joint Committee members and Civil Society Groups will holistically look at the 2010 Electoral Act with a view to amending it.