NASS set to pass Electoral Act next week
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the National Assembly will pass the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 already slated for final consideration next week.
This was even as the leadership of the parliament denied taking any preconceived position in the amendment.
The media was at the weekend awash with news that electronic transfer of results from the 8, 809 wards direct to the portal of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has been removed from provisions of the bill.
The report made some of the civil society organisations put the telephone numbers of the presiding officers of the National Assembly on social media platforms which were used to bombard their lines on why such a move was being made.
But the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan in his reaction to the insinuation during inauguration of the National Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission, PCC in Abuja, said presiding officers are not in any way tampering with workings of committees of both chambers on the electoral act amendment bill.
“Let me seize this opportunity to react to insinuations being made against leadership of the National Assembly as regards the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, which will soon be considered and passed at both chambers.
“Leadership or presiding officers of the National Assembly are not the one to determine what and what provisions should be in the report to be presented, making the series of calls being made to us unnecessary.
“Nothing has been tampered with in the report that is yet to be presented for final consideration and passage at both chambers.
“It is very important that those who feel very strongly about any amendment that they think should be effected in the Electoral Act should contact or talk to their members of the House of Representatives as well as Distinguished Senators.
“I want to state categorically here that presiding officers are not the ones to determine what is carried or what is not.
“Our appeal to Nigerians as leaders of the National Assembly is for them to contact or approach their Representatives in the National Assembly either in the Senate or in the House of Representatives for defence of their positions anytime the bill is tabled for clause by clause consideration which will be either this week or next week ” he said.
After the clarification, the Senate President along with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, presided over the inauguration of the newly appointed Chief Commissioner and National Commissioners of the PCC.
Lawan, however, told the commissioners to run a PCC that will protect the rights of citizens as envisioned by decree 31 of 1975 which brought the ombudsman into existence.
In his remarks, Gbajabiamila admonished the PCC chiefs to protect and redress administrative excesses, saying that the commission was conceived to, amongst other things, address issues of Human Rights abuses.
“It is clear that the Public Complaints Commission is a product of necessity due to Human Rights abuses, societal victimization, high-handedness and other forms of practices of maladministration.
“Such ugly practices had long been noticed in Nigeria of all places, and promoted the birth of the Commission in 1975, and its metamorphosis into a statutory vehicle in 2004”, Gbajabiamila said.
The Chief Commissioner of PCC, Hon. Ademola Ayo Yusuf assured the leadership of the National Assembly that the commission under his leadership will be fair in ensuring critical and thorough investigation of complaints.