The Punch

Reps to pass electoral bill today, panel pegs presidenti­al poll expenses at N5bn

- Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

THE House of Representa­tives is billed to pass amendments to the Electoral Act, 2010 today (Thursday) barring any lastminute change in plan.

The Committee on Electoral Matters laid its report on the Electoral Act, 2010 (Amendment) Bill at the plenary on Wednesday.

The Chairman of the committee, Aisha Dukku, prayed the House to receive the report on: ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010, and enact the Electoral Act, 2021, to Regulate the Conduct of Federal, State and Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory Elections; and for Related Matters.’

The bill was referred to the committee on November 24, 2020.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiami­la; and Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, had separately stated that the bill would be passed before the National Assembly embarks on its two-month annual recess, which begins today (Thursday).

In the report, a copy of which was obtained by our correspond­ent on Wednesday, the committee recommende­d that electronic voting and transmissi­on of results should be left at the discretion of the Independen­t National Electoral Commission.

Section 48(2) of the bill reads, “Voting at an election and transmissi­on of result under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission.”

Several members of the House, who were contacted after plenary, said they had yet to receive a copy of the bill to confirm the final recommenda­tions.

one of them, who spoke to our correspond­ent around 9pm, said, “Let me tell you what I know: it is the Senate’s version that has the provision ‘shall not’. The version of the House was silent on that and only gave INEC the discretion to either go electronic or not. The Senate version specifical­ly barred INEC from electronic transmissi­on. I know that for certain.”

Section 50(2) of a leaked version of the bill had generated wide criticisms

The section states that INEC could make use of electronic voting, but it should not transfer the results by electronic means.

The section reads, “Voting at an election under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission, which may include electronic voting, provided that the commission shall not transmit results of elections by electronic means.”

Section 87 reads, “(1) Election expenses shall not exceed the sum stipulated in subsection­s (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) and (7).

“(2) The maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidenti­al election shall not exceed N5,000,000,000.00.

“(3) The maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate in respect of the governorsh­ip election shall not exceed N1,000,000,000.00.

“(4) The maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate in respect of senatorial and House of Representa­tives seats shall not exceed N100,000,000.00 and N70,000,000.00, respective­ly.

“(5) In the case of a state Assembly election, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate shall not exceed N30,000,000.00.

“(6) In the case of a chairmansh­ip election to an area council, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate shall not exceed N30,000,000.00.

“(7) In the case of councillor­ship election to an area council, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate shall not exceed N5,000,000.00.

“(8) No individual or other entity shall donate to a candidate more than N50,000,000.00.”

Meanwhile, the House also on Thursday reconsider­ed two bills from the preceding 8th National Assembly. These are the Electoral offences Commission (Establishm­ent) Bill, 2020 (HB. 753); and Harmonised Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill, 2020 (HB. 1340).

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