The Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is hopeful all legislative interventions to strengthen the electoral process will be concluded before the 2019 general election.
Dogara spoke while declaring open a public hearing on twelve proposed further amendments to the Electoral Act 2010.
In 2015, Nigeria recorded a major feat when the leading opposition political party defeated the ruling government in a poll generally accepted as free and fair.
But that election was not without its flaws some of which were a result of noticeable lapses in the Electoral Act.
In trying to bridge the visible gaps thrown up by the last general election, the House of Representatives is seeking to further amend the Electoral Act.
Dogara and his Deputy, Yusuf Lasun acknowledge the remarkable improvements in the country’s democratic process, buy say a lot still needs to be done to deepen the nation’s democracy.
Lasun, who chairs the ad hoc committee on Constitution Review, is confident the issue of independent candidates in elections will sail through in the on going constitution amendment process.
Other stakeholders agree with majority of the twelve proposed amendments which includes, legalising the use of card reader for elections and creating the Nigerian Electoral Offences Commission.
One of the proposed amendments is seeking to include Nigerians in diaspora who are qualified to vote, to INEC’s list of voters.
The legislators are also seeking to amend section thirty three and thirty six of the Electoral Act to provide for the death of presidential or Governorship candidate during an election so as to forestall a repeat of the Kogi state experience in November, 2015.
The House Committee on Electoral Matters and Political parties is also seeking inputs into a bill aiming to empower national tribunals and courts to declare candidates who score second highest votes as winners of elections when the tribunal or court finds or holds that the winner of election is unqualified Ab Initio.