The Senate has received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari to amend the Electoral Act passed by the National Assembly on January 25, 2022.
The request was contained in a letter dated 28th February, 2022.
The letter was read on the floor during plenary on Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The President, in the letter, drew the attention of chamber to the provisions of Section 84(12), which, according to him, constitutes a “defect” that is in conflict with extant Constitutional provisions.
According to him, Section 84(12) of the Act constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at Conventions or Congresses of any Political Party, for the purpose of nomination of Candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the Election.
The full text of the letter reads: “I write with reference to the recent assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) 2022, and to draw your kind attention to some salient issues contained in the Act and to seek your immediate legislative action thereon.
“I have carefully studied the content of the recently assented Electoral Act (Amendment), 2022; I must admit that there are positive provisions that could revolutionize election process in Nigeria particularly through the introduction of new technological innovations that will in turn guarantee the Constitutional rights of Citizens to vote and to do so effectively.
“The recently assented Electoral Act has improved and engendered clarity, effectiveness and transparency of the election process, as well as reduced to the barest minimum incidences of acrimony arising from dissatisfied Candidates and Political Parties.
“I therefore commend the legislative wisdom of the National Assembly which is in line with our policy to bequeath Nigerians and posterity, a landmark legal framework that paves the way for credible electoral process that we would all be proud of.
“Distinguished Senate President, I however will want to kindly draw your attention to the provisions of Section 84(12) of the Act, which I believe, constitutes a fundamental defect as it is in direct conflict with extant Constitutional provisions.
“Section 84 (12) of the Act constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at Conventions or Congresses of any Political Party, for the purpose of nomination of Candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the Election. Section 84(12) of the Act provides as follows: “No political appointee at any level shall be voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
“This provision has introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that is ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification to serving political office holders of which they are constitutionally accorded protection.
“The practical application of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, (Amendment) 2022, is to subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under Sections 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“It is imperative to note, that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify, by extension as public officers within the context of the Constitution is resignation, withdrawal, or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election, as provided in Section 66(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), among others.
“Hence, it will be stretching matters beyond the constitutional limit to import extraneous restrictions into the Constitution on account of practical application of Section 84(12) of the SmAct where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to hold earlier than 30 days to the election.
“Arising from the foregoing, I request the National Assembly to consider immediate amendments that will bring the Act in conformity with the Constitution by way of deleting Section 84(12) accordingly.”
Bauchi Blasphemy: We ‘ll not accept this brutal way of murder – CAN
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) in Kaduna State, Rev.Joseph John Hayab has raised concern over the allegation of blasphemy in Bauchi, saying the challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address abuse of the constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.
He said in a statement on Saturday, that allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and terrorists have not yet killed.
“How can you justify the period of what happened in Sokoto, the allegation in Borno, the fake allegation on Babachir Lawal by one northern actor who we have on record how he made blasphemous remarks about
Jesus Christ but quickly went and brought it down on the internet to cover himself before coming out to falsely accused Babachir Lawal the former SGF and today we are seeing another carnage in Bauchi under the excuse of blasphemy, “He said.
“We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with perceived enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion.”
“We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.”
“CAN wonder if the recent sermons we are getting from some Islamic clerics on what the Holy Quran says about what should be done if anyone is accused of blasphemy is unpopular amongst followers?”
“The challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address this abuse of our constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.”
“Nigeria Christians most especially those of Northern extraction have for ages exhibited tolerance despite many provocations and lack of reciprocation of our love and friendship but these new tactics for killing our people from any and every accusation of blasphemy are unacceptable to CAN and all Christian faithful.
We will not accept this brutal way of murder and inhuman treatment of our followers to continue.”
“Government and security agencies should come out to enforce the law on every murderer hiding under religion.
We will also wish to appeal to Christian leaders and parents to guide their children to resist any ungodly provocation that will make them says things that blood-thisty fundamentalist can easily use to kill them.”
“CAN is appealing to religious leaders from both religious divides to intensify teachings about the evil of taking the laws into one hand and killing another person for whatever reason.
Allege offenders should be reported to security agencies or taken to any competent court of law for judiciary pronouncement.
Nigeria is not a banana republic but a nation we believe should be governed by the rule of law,” he said.
Oyetola bags Vanguard 2021 ‘Governor of The Year Award’ for Good Governance
LAGOS EXPLAINS OKADA CLAMPDOWN
Lagos State Government has described the ongoing enforcement of restrictions on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in certain parts of the State as a necessary step to curb their indiscipline, save lives and improve security.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, spoke on Channels TV Sunrise Daily about the new enforcement order given by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the backlash recorded in a part of the State.
According to Omotoso, the resurgence of Okada operations and acts of indiscipline being exhibited by riders have become a serious source of concern as many people have lost their limbs and lives through Okada accidents.
His words: “Our doctors are complaining that more and more people are coming with Okada-related emergency. About 1,712 accidents have been recorded in Lagos in the first quarter of this year. Out of this figure, about 45 percent; to be precise, 767 of the accidents were caused by Okada. And it is shocking to know that about 54 percent of the victims are between the ages of 30 and 39. These are our able-bodied young people who are getting cut down like that all because they mounted okada.”
Attributing the high fatality rate of riders and passengers to plying about 500 highways, major roads and bridges, which the Road Traffic Law prohibited, Omotoso affirmed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s order was to reinforce the law and give the riders an opportunity to move out and find some other things to do.
He said: “There is a Law that lists all the routes commercial motorcycles are restricted from plying. The Law is still there; it has not been repealed. So, the enforcement is not new and it is going to continue as the June 1st deadline stands.”
Describing as unfortunate the insecurity in some parts of the country that has forced many people to migrate to Lagos to make ends meet by riding Okada, the Commissioner explained that the development led to complaints from residents who have expressed their rejection of okada.
“Lagosians are worried about the mystery of Okada; they don’t know where they come from; the riders are unknown; they don’t even have number plates. They don’t come for LASRRA registration, so we can’t account for them,” he said.
Speaking further, the Commissioner described the approach to the renewed enforcement as well planned and strategic because the State expected the kind of backlash the exercise has generated, but assured all that it was an experience the law enforcement agents were used to.
On possible increase in crime rate, following the enforcement, Omotoso said “everything the law enforcement agencies need in terms of equipment, welfare and encouragement would be provided for them to step up enforcement and security of lives and property.”
The Commissioner expressed the determination of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure full enforcement and allayed fears that the government would want to go back because of politics.
He said: “Mr. Governor is a man of integrity; he is a man of his words. He is going to ensure that whatever it takes to enforce the law will be done. We have been encouraged by Lagosians who have seen the danger and who feel that moving with Okada from one place to another because it is very fast cannot be compared to the security threat they pose. The goal is to have a Lagos without motorcycles because there is no megacity in the world that you go to and find this kind of mode of transportation.
“It is also preposterous for anybody to say for our votes come and mess up Lagos. No, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor, is not going to do that. This is the last time we are going to have this as the bikes are being crushed to show people that we are very serious, and communicate to those bringing them in, that enough is enough.”
Omotoso advised okada riders to look for something else to do as there are so many opportunities in Lagos for anyone who wants to stay in Lagos and wants to be law-abiding.
“You should go and collect your LASRRA card and be an official resident of Lagos and find something to do. Artisans who left their jobs to ride Okada should find a reason now to go back to their jobs,” he said.
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