By Musa Baba Adamu
The Senate yesterday in passing the harmonized version of the Electoral Act amendment bill retained the vexed clause making direct primary mandatory for the political parties.
The inclusion of direct primary for the political parties in the proposed legislation by the Lawmakers had unnerved the state Governors who had shown their rejection of the idea.
The passage of the Bill by the Senate followed the consideration of the report of the Conference Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on the bill.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had constituted a seven-man conference committee to meet with their counterparts in the House to harmonize the differences in the Senate and House versions of the bill.
The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, who chaired the Conference Committee in the Senate, presented the report on the harmonized version of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
In his presentation, he said the Bill when passed by the National Assembly, and subsequently assented into law by the President, would regulate the conduct of Federal, State and Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory Elections.
He disclosed that the Conference Committee at its retreat, considered and adopted 21 clauses in the Bill.
He said: “It is imperative to point out that with the successful harmonization of this bill, a process that started from the 7th Assembly through to the 8th National Assembly has now been completed by the 9th National Assembly.
“The bill is now ready for passage and Presidential assent.
“I am happy to state that most of what we call “citizens top priorities” on the Electoral Act Amendment, including the use of technology have been addressed by the Electoral Bill, 2021.”
The Senate had also re-amended certain aspects of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill contained in Clauses 43, 52, 63 and 87, respectively.
The re- amendment to the clauses was duly carried out amid a motion for re- committal sponsored by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi.
Accordingly, while adopting the conference committee report on Tuesday, the Senate approved the re- amended clauses to provide for direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions.
The Senate also empowered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in line with Clause 63 to determine the procedure for voting and transmission of results during an election.