Electoral Act: Section 84 (12) disenfranchises political officeholders, should be deleted, Buhari tells NASS

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President Muhammadu Buhari with Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila at the signing of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill in Abuja on February 25, 2022.

President Muhammadu Buhari has faulted Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022. He believes the provision, as contained in the newly signed Act, constitutes a fundamental defect as it is in conflict with extant constitutional provisions.

The President stated this in his speech on Friday while signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law at a brief ceremony held at the Council Chamber of the Aso Villa in Abuja. In his view, the section disenfranchises serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election.

President Buhari stressed that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restrictions to serving political officeholders. He, however, acknowledged the ‘great deal of improvement’ in the Electoral Act, compared with the previous Electoral Bill, 2021. According to the President, the law contains salient provisions that could positively revolutionise the nation’s elections via the introduction of new technological innovations.

He is also delighted that the Act would improve and engender clarity, effectiveness, and transparency of the election process, as well as reduce incidences of acrimony arising from dissatisfied candidates and political parties to the barest minimum.

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