Today, Friday 25th February 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the electoral bill into law. I picked up social media what is said to be the key provisions of the new law below. I have also added my comments below the summary.
Here is the summary of ten key provisions of the new ELECTORAL ACT LAW as signed today by President Buhari.
1. Clause 29(1) stipulates that parties must conduct primaries and submit their list of candidates at least 180 days before the general elections.
2. Clause 65 states that INEC can review results declared under duress.
3. Clause 3(3) states that funds for general elections must be released at least one year before the election.
4. Clause 51 says that the total number of accredited voters will become a factor in determining over-voting at election tribunals.
5. Clause 54(2) makes provisions for people with disabilities and special needs.
6. Clause 47 gives legislative backing for smart card readers and any other voter accreditation technology that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deploy.
7. Clause 34 gives political parties power to conduct a primary election to replace a candidate who died during an election.
8. Clause 50 gives INEC the legal backing for electronic transmission of election results.
9. Clause 94 allows for early commencement of the campaign season. By this provision, the campaign season will now start 150 days to the election day and end 24 hours before the election.
10. Clause 84 stipulates that anyone holding a political office – ministers, commissioners, special advisers and others – must relinquish the position before they can be eligible to participate in the electoral process either as a candidate or as a delegate.
The most important of these clauses are:
1. Clause 51 – Accredited voters – if this clause was operational, Abubakar Audu would have won the governorship election in Kogi state and Falake who was his deputy would have been sworn in as Gov after Audu suddenly died. INEC had used registered voters instead of accredited voters to declare the election inconclusive! registered voters include those who have died, moved away from the area or did not bother step out to vote so using them to decide an election was very unfair. Going forward it will only be those who have stepped forward to be accredited that will be used to decide elections.
2. Clause 47 – Technology – smart card readers and other technologies are the game changers. The smart reader sanitised the thumb printing and other election rigging mechanisms in the 2015 elections. What a shame that politicians went to court to step it down in subsequent elections but now it is back with full legal backing plus any other technology that INEC uses to deploy! the more the technology the more difficult to rig!
3. Clause 50 – Electronic transmission of results- this is the most important change. But INEC must transmit and publish the results polling unit by polling unit which will make all voters to become election observers because every voter will be able to validate the results as was announced at their polling units and once that is done the rest is addition to decide the winners. If INEC publishes results by polling units it will eliminate all the rigging that happens at the collation centres because Nigerians will add the individual polling units results by themselves and it will be different from any shenanigans that happen overnight at the collation centres. Infact the collation centre officials will advise themselves not to try any nonsense since Nigerians already know the results by polling units!
Now that we have a brand new electoral law, there is no more excuse for why we cannot participate in the electoral process. We currently do not have a nation but individuals striving to undo each other and accumulate wealth for themselves.
We can only build a nation when you, me and everyone reading this article get involved in the electoral process and speak with our PVCs in 2023 to elect competent, capable, compassionate and courageous leaders at all levels to lead us in nation building.
We can never do well unless our country is doing well. If our country is sick, it will afflict all of us regardless of our status in society or how well we think we are doing! the politicians use the electoral process to lord it over us, and there is no other way to take our country back from them other than using the same electoral process! we must troop out and defeat the politicians at their own game on their own turf! there is no other way!
Those to lead us in this fight are the educated, well to do Nigerians who will not sell their votes but cast them for the right candidates, so far these Nigerians sit at home or fly out of the country on election day leaving the field for those who will sell their votes and the politicians just buy the votes and have a walk-over on us in the game! These sit-at-home Nigerians must not only come out to vote but also convince all those in their circles of influence including their villagers to also vote right! if we all do this, then Nigeria we get the leadership we deserve in 2023! anything short and is another circle of 4 years of sufferings, ruins and pains from 2023!!!
The future of Nigeria for ourselves and our children squarely lies on us.
NIGERIA MUST ARISE!!!