24th January, 2018
The House of Representatives on Tuesday amended the Electoral Act to change the order of 2019 general elections’ timetable.
This came barely a month after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for the general elections.
With the amendment, the National Assembly election is to hold first, followed by gubernatorial and state assembly polls and the presidential election to be conducted last.
The amendment was made at the Committee of the whole House, presided by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Yussuff Lasun.
The lawmakers amended the Act while considering the report of the House Committee on Electoral Matters which proposed amendment of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
In the time-table released by INEC, Presidential and National Assembly elections were to hold first, while governorship and state assembly would follow.
The House amended section 25 of the Principal Act and substituted it with a new section 25 (1).
According to the section, the elections shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly election (b) State Houses of Assembly and Governorship elections (c) Presidential election.
Similarly, section 87 was amended by adding a new section 87 (11) with a marginal note “time for primaries of political parties”.
“The primaries of political parties shall follow the following sequence (i) State House of Assembly (ii) National Assembly (iii) Governorship, and (iv), President.
“The dates for the above-stated primaries shall not be held earlier than 120 days and not later than 90 days before the date of elections to the offices.”
The House also amended section 36 to allow running mate of candidate that dies before the conclusion of elections inherit his votes and continue with the process.
Section 35 which states that if before an election a candidate dies, he will be replaced by the next contestant with the highest vote was also amended.
The amendment indicated that if a nominated candidate died in the election process, the next person from the same political party with the second highest votes in the primary election should replace the deceased.
It stated that the name of the new person should be submitted to INEC, which should accept such replacement as if the deceased was alive.
The House also made an increment in the limitation of election expenses to be incurred by candidates for presidential candidates from N1 billion to N5 billion.
It raised the governorship bill from N200 million to N1 billion, while Senatorial and Representatives candidates’ expenses are not to exceed N100 million and N70 million, respectively.
For State Assembly and local government chairmanship elections, candidates’ expenses had been raised from N10 million to N30 million while councillorship candidates ceiling was raised from N1 million to N5 million.
Similarly, individual contribution had been jerked up from N1 million to N10 million.