…May disqualify ex-INEC staff, non-graduates from presidential polls

Report of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters has recommended the repeal and re-enactment of a brand new Electoral Act by November.

The essence of the new law, according to the committee, is to bar non-degree holders and former Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, staff from contesting presidential and other polls, Vanguard learned, yesterday.

A member of the committee in the House, Kpam Jimin Sokpo (PDP-Benue), said the House would also repeal and do a total overhaul of the piece of legislation.

He said: “We are trying to compare the INEC’s proposed provisions, those of the Senate and existing Act. So the different positions from different stakeholders are what we are considering.

“The Act needs to be repealed; that’s what we agreed on. What we are doing right now is to look at different positions (for a new law) and harmonise it; we are doing that with CSOs (Civil Society Organisations).”

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Also checks at the Rules and Business Committees of the Senate and House revealed that independent candidature, higher qualification for presidential candidates and disqualification of ex-INEC officials, featured prominently in the proposed new legislation.

A proposal to ban former INEC staff from participating in partisan politics for at least five years, submitted by Tasir Raji (Lagos-APC) is entitled, “A Bill For An Act To Amend the Electoral Act To Prohibit Electoral Officers from Engaging in Partisan Politics within Five Years of Retirement, Resignation and Official Relief of Duties.”

The bill creates a new subsection 2 in the Principal Act, to add to section 146.

In summary, the bill “seeks to amend the Electoral Act to prohibit electoral officers from engaging in partisan politics within five years of retirement, resignation and official relief of duties and other related matters.”

Another bill, sponsored by Deputy Whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC-Abia), and also included in the proposed new law, seeks to raise the academic qualification for presidential candidates of political parties to degree or its equivalent.

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Also, a proposal to allow others run for political offices independent of political parties is being considered by the National Assembly.

Both chambers of the National Assembly are expected to lay their reports in September when the National Assembly resumes from its annual recess.

 

Vanguard

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