Finally, the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has passed Second Reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by Rep. Olawale Raji (APC, Lagos), seeks to amend the Electoral Act, 2010, to Prohibit Electoral Officers from engaging in Partisan Politics within five (5) years of Retirement, Resignation and Official Relief of Duties and Other Related Matters.
According to the lawmaker, .the amendment of the Electoral act, checkmates the loophole in the principal act, “which will in turn strengthen our democratic culture,” he said
Raji in his lead debate in support of the amendment of the bill argued that Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended provides that every Nigerian is free to belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his/her interest.
“The import of the above provision is to the effect that every Nigerian adult has the inherent/Constitutional right to participate freely during an election and cannot be disenfranchising unduly.
“However, by virtue of Section 45 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it provides that nothing in Section 40 of the Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, with respect to the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health, or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.
“The import of the above is to the effect that the provisions of section 40 of the Constitution will not invalidate any law of the National Assembly that is tailored towards the protection of public order and morality. In the light of the above,
“I submit that the level of information available to a National Electoral Commissioner and the Resident Electoral Commissioner respectively, during their period of service as electoral staff, of which the general public is not privy to especially the methods and the procedures on how elections are conducted…
“It has become imperative to restrict them from taking part in aspiring for elective positions in government for a period of at least five (5) years of their disengagement from the commission.”
He said the amendment is to ensure that such officer has lost touch with recent happening in the Electoral commission. And that the act is additionally tailored towards the protection of the integrity of the electoral body and elections at large.
“It is also a way to build the confidence of the electorate towards the activities and affairs of the commission.
“By isolating these officers from engaging in active politics, this amendment will prevent any possible abuse of office or using a position once occupied to gain undue advantage during an election.”
Support DAYLIGHT REPORTERS’ to grow in its strive and commitment to promote credible, balanced and accurate journalism.
By contributing to DAYLIGHT REPORTERS, you are helping to sustain unbiased, credible, balanced and accurate news platform that is free and accessible to all.