Nnamani committee recommends electoral offences commission, independent candidacy
• Senate begins consideration of RECs, envoy nominees
• Again, Peace Corps’ bill suffers setback
The Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee headed by Senator Ken Nnamani yesterday recommended the establishment of a Political Parties and Electoral Offences Commission.
The report was submitted to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.Also recommended was the establishment of a constituency delimitation centre, as well as independent candidacy for electoral offices.
The committee’s report further included draft bills for the amendment of relevant provisions of the Constitution, as well as an amendment of the Electoral Act.
There were also recommendations on how to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the management of political parties.
Other recommendations include the use of technology in election, diaspora voting and special access for persons with disabilities.
Nnamani explained that the committee attached the four drafts bills as part of its report to hasten the amendment of the relevant provisions of the Constitution.
Receiving the report, Malami said the recommendations would guide the Federal Government in the amendment of the 1999 Constitution towards improving the country’s electoral system.
Malami disclosed that the recommendations addressed the “irritating issue of electoral offences, management of electoral disputes resolution, specific legal provisions that impact on the electoral process, as well as issues affecting the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs).”
The minister promised that the committee’s report and the draft amendment bill would be submitted to the Presidency for consideration before passing them to the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday began the consideration of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs)’s nominees for the INEC.It was stepped down in March, following the disagreement between the Senate and the presidency over the confirmation of Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.The re-consideration followed a motion by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan and seconded by Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio
The motion on RECs was referred to the Senate Committee on INEC, while that of envoys was referred to the committee on foreign affairs. Senate President Bukola Saraki urged both committees to submit their reports in two weeks.
Also yesterday, the bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps suffered another setback after the lawmakers opposed the adoption of the conference report on it.
While the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawal warned against stepping it down on the basis of litigation, James Manager and the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, argued against its establishment, citing the on-going litigation and the opposition to it by the security agencies.
Senator Bayero Nafada chaired the conference committee’s report of both chambers.According to Lawal, similar opposition to the establishment of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was not successful.