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Malami, Amaechi, Ngige In Tight Corner As Senate Rejects Electoral Bill Amendment


The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige are in a tight corner following the rejection of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by the Senate on Wednesday.

The ministers would be hindered from participating in the All Progressives Congress primaries expect they resign from their appointment before May.

The bill, however, does not stop governors, deputy governors, Vice-President and members of the National Assembly from contesting in the primaries of their political.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari after signing the bill into law in February called on the National Assembly to amend Section 84 of the Electoral Act.

President Buhari in a plea forwarded to the National Assembly had argued that it was at variance with the constitution.

Section 84 of the electoral act stops political appointees from contesting in primaries, voting at any convention.

Section 84(10) of the Act specifically reads, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

In the case where a political party allows political appointees to contest in party primaries, the politician would not be recognised in the election.

The Senate on Wednesday despite the ruling of a court stopping it from reviewing the bill rejected President Buhari’s request to amend the electoral act.

Lawmakers on Wednesday rejected the bill despite an attempt by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan to put the motion for its adoption for a second reading to a voice vote.

Senator Adamu Aliero had charged the Senate to step down the amendment of the Electoral Act after the Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, moved the motion for the bill to be read a second time.

Aliero in his stand made reference to the provision of Rule 52(5) of the Standing Orders of the Senate.

Order 52(5) provides that, ‘Reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending, in such a way as might in the opinion of the President of the Senate prejudice the interest of parties thereto.’

He advised lawmakers to step down the bill pending the vacation of the ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.

According to Aliero, amending the Electoral Act would be sub judice.

The Senate President while ruling on Aliero’s motion claimed that the decision of Senators to amend the Act is to exercise the constitutional duties of the legislature.

The Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe on his part opposed the proposed deletion of Section 84(12) of the Act.

Abaribe said, “There are certain things that we see which we think we don’t even have to come here to debate. One of those things is the fact that in every democracy, all over the world, there are certain rules which we don’t need to be told about. One of those rules is the fact that you cannot be a referee and a player on the same field. It is either you’re a referee or a player.”

Senator Smart Adeyemi while speaking on the move to amend the bill said, “Indeed, it is a settled matter in law that you cannot be a judge over your own case.

“In any election, where people have the added advantage of holding executive power, either by proxy or directly or by appointment, for such people to have access and compete with others who came from the street, I think is an unjust society.

“Therefore, I disagree with all the arguments on the need to consider a decision that has already been settled.”

Senators, however, voted against the bill despite the effort by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, to sway the opinion of the lawmakers.

is an Associate at Naija News. He is a news media enthusiast, he holds a degree in psychology and loves exploring and sharing about the enormous power that lies in the human mind. Email: [email protected], Instagram: adeniyidman