Reps Endorses Bill For Amendment Of 2022 Electoral Act In Nigeria

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The Nigerian House of Representatives has endorsed a bill aimed at amending the 2022 Electoral Act. This proposed legislation focuses on preventing the invalidation of election results due to overvoting incidents implicated by electoral officers.

Representative Abubakar Fulata, the advocate of this bill, spearheaded the discourse on the core intentions of the bill during a session in Abuja. He proposed imposing penalties for electoral officers found complicit in misconduct.

He highlighted, “It is crucially important to enforce consequences on the presiding officer who partakes in or permits fraudulent activities and injustices.”

Fulata elaborated that the bill intends to adjust sections 51 (2) while seeking the elimination of sections 51(3) and 51(4), along with adjustments to section 84 (8). He argued that the current clauses disproportionately penalize legitimate winners instead of addressing those who collude to manipulate election outcomes.

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Emphasizing the role of electoral officers as custodians of democracy, Fulata argued for the need of deterrent measures. He pointed out that ambiguities regarding who added illegitimate votes should not strip rightful winners of their victories.

“Often, electoral candidates exploit these sections to add a nominal number of votes in their opponent’s strongholds to challenge the legitimacy of the results in those areas,” Fulata explained, noting such maneuvers aim to unfairly advantage the losing parties.

A significant number of lawmakers rallied behind the proposal, acknowledging the pressing necessity to make electoral officers liable for actions that lead to the negation of legitimate results. Garnering unanimous approval, the bill advanced past its second reading and was forwarded to the House Committee on Electoral Matters for comprehensive legislative scrutiny and further action.

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