The Senate has made a significant improvement on the nation’ s electoral system with the passage of the Electoral Act No 6 of 2010 Amendment Bill.
The Bill among other things stipulates that; Card Reader technology to be fully implemented henceforth meaning that there shall now be full biometric accreditation of voters with Smart Card Readers and/or other technological devices, as INEC may introduce for elections from time to time.
Seeking to regulate money politics, the bill pegged the amount to he paid as nomination fee by aspirants into the House of Representatives at N1,000,000 while aspirants for the Senate will pay N500,000. Parties can no longer impose arbitrary nomination fees on aspirants.
Presiding Officers must now instantly transmit accreditation data and results from Polling Units to various collation centers. Presiding officer who contravene this shall be imprisoned for at least 5 years (no option of fine) while all Presiding Officer must now first record accreditation data and polling results on INEC’s prescribed forms before transmitting them.
With this, INEC now has unfettered powers to conduct elections by electronic voting meaning that besides manual registers, INEC is now mandated to keep Electronic registers of voters.
To avoid the unprecedented Kogi State governorship debacle, the bill gives a political party whose candidate dies after commencement of an election and before the declaration of the result of that election qqqqqa 14-day window to conduct a fresh primary in order for INEC to conduct a fresh election within 21 days of the death of the party’s candidate.
It is now a crime for any political party to impose qualification/disqualification criteria, measures or conditions on any Nigerian for the purpose of nomination for elective offices, except as provided in the 1999 Constitution.
” The election of a winner of an election can no longer be challenged on grounds of qualification, if the he (winner) satisfied the applicable requirements of sections 65, 106,
131 or 177 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and he is not, as may be applicable, in breach of sections 66, 107, 137 or 182 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. [For example, a person’s election cannot be challenged on the ground that he did not pay tax, as this is not a qualifying condition under the Constitution.]”
All members of political parties are now eligible to determine the ad-hoc delegates to elect candidates of parties in indirect primaries. The capacity of party executives to unduly influence or rig party primaries has been reasonably curtailed, if not totally removed.
Relying on the powers of the National Assembly in Paragraph 11 of Part II (Concurrent Legislative List) of the Second Schedule (Legislative Powers) to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Senate also passed measures reforming procedures regulating Local Government Elections. State Independent Electoral Commissions can no longer conduct elections that do not meet minimum standards of credibility.