Monday, 6 June 2016

Saraki: New Electoral Act will be ready before December

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday, said that a new Electoral Act, which would be an amendment to the 2010 version of the document, earlier amended in 2011 and 2015, would be ready before the end of the year.

He made the disclosure  at a one-day summit on Electoral Reform organised by the Senate Committee in collaboration with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre at the National Assembly.

He said, “By the end of 2016, we shall amend the Electoral Act. We must conclude the amendment by the end of the year. My view is that politics start early,  let us amend the areas we all agree on because we may not agree on all the issues. ”

He reminded the political class that Nigerians demand a responsible government whose fate, they alone can determine.

He also noted that the electoral successes in the last general election had created the impression that the country had achieved electoral universality and integrity, but lamented that recent events and emerging issues had served as a reminder that there was still a lot of work to be done.

Good governance, according to Saraki,  starts with having a virile electoral system with impeccable integrity, stressing that universal application must be the minimum standard.

He said, “We must fashion out an electoral scheme that does not disenfranchise any Nigerian, and one that does not have room for ballot tampering and manipulation.

“Electoral process must become routine and inviolable. This is attainable. The current National Assembly is poised to provide the missing gaps through its legislative interventions”

Saraki tasked the stakeholders to see the possibility of accommodating Nigerians in the diaspora in the proposed amendment to the electoral law so that they could take part in the democratic process.

Such right he said,  would afford Nigerians in many other countries, irrespective of location to participate in the voting exercise.

He also tasked the stakeholders to take another look at the role of security personnel during elections,  in the light of certain revelations to the effect that the previous government had signed into law an amendment to the Electoral Act empowering the military to be used during elections for a variety of reasons.