Party Primaries: Senate Amends Electoral Act, Gives Voting Right to Statutory Delegates
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The Senate on Tuesday passed an amendment to Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act 2022 to enable statutory delegates to participate in political parties’ congresses and conventions.
The red chamber claimed it unintentionally omitted the statutory delegates from the version of the Act, assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in February.
The Act before the amendments, prevented statutory delegates from voting during party primaries.
Statutory delegates are, councillors, local government chairmen and their vice, political party chairmen in all the 774 local government areas.
They also included state and federal legislators, governors and their deputies, president and vice president.
Members of the political parties’ National Working Committee and, state party chairmen and secretaries, also fall in the category.
The Senate amended the clause after considering a bill sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege during plenary on Tuesday.
The amendment will now allow statutory delegates, in addition to the delegates elected by various political parties, vote during congresses and conventions to elect candidates for various political offices.
The Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the “unintended clause” had to be amended before commencement of party primaries.
He said the House of Representatives would also pass the same amendment on Wednesday before transmitting it to the president for assent latest next week.
He said the amendment had become imperative to ensure that no one was denied his rights during political parties’ activities.
Omo-Agege said, “The Bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act 2022 to make provision for delegates who, not being elected delegates, as prescribed in the Constitution of a Political Party to participate in the convention, congress or meeting of the party.
“The Bill was read for the first time on the floor of the Senate today Tuesday: 10 May, 2022.
“As couched in Section 84 (8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 does not provide for the participation of what is generally known as ‘statutory delegates in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.
“The extant subsection only clearly provides for the participation of elected delegates in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties held to nominate candidates of political parties.
“This is an unintended error and we can only correct it with this amendment now before us.The passage of this Bill will further strengthen our electoral system.”