Electoral Act: House Proposes Stiffer Punishment for Frivolous Election Petitions

Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The House of Representatives yesterday proposed amendment in the electoral act 2022 to mete out heavy sanctions and fines against persons who file frivolous election petitions in the courts, thereby delaying proceedings.

It also proposed an amendment to allow for the presidential, gubernatorial, national and state houses of assembly elections to hold for a day instead of spreading to last for a long time in order to cut expenses in the electoral processes.

A Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act 2022, and for Related Matters, 2023 which scaled through second reading was sponsored by Hon. Francis Ejiroghene at plenary.

Ejiroghene said that the amendments proposed in the bill are five in number and each amendment is drawn from the diverse opinions expressed by the general public, political parties, observers and analysts.

While making reference to the 2023 February general elections, he noted that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and Electronic Transmission of results was a major concern and discourse across all parties.

“You will agree with me that the 2023 polls one was of the most meticulously prepared in recent times, under the 2022 Electoral Act as Nigeria advanced from manual accreditation to the use of BVAS, Electronic Transmission of documents etc.

“However, there are some loopholes in the principal Act and the purpose of this amendment is to address some of the challenges of the last election. To correct the obvious defects in the Act and get us prepared for better elections in the future,” he said.

Hon. Akin Rotimi while contributing to the bill commended the sponsor of the bill for working in consonance with the provisions of the House Legislative Agenda.

“This is one of the most beautiful pieces of legislation if not the most beautiful in this assembly in my opinion though.

“This bill sits right in with the legislative agenda because I was one of the drafters of the 10th House Legislative Agenda.

“ One of the key elements of it is the Electoral Reforms and one of the provisions is that the House of Representatives will carefully examine complaints from stakeholders arising from the conduct of the 2024 general elections. Some of the specific areas are to amend the Electoral Act to remedy some of the gaps observed including vague and contradicting provisions,” he said.

Hon. Okey- Joe Jessey while contributing also said there was a need to conduct elections in one day as economic activities are usually shutdown as a result of the conduct of these elections which in turn will obviously affect the economy.

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