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Why Senators rejected Buhari’s Electoral Bill ammendment – Abaribe


SENATE Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, PDP Abia, has given reasons the Senate rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s bill to amend Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 that was recently passed into law.

According to him, amending the section would be going against the civil service norms and would be injurious to the well-being of the society.


While signing the 2022 Electoral Amendment Bill on February 25, President Buhari complained that the provision constituted fundamental defect, saying it was in conflict with extant constitutional provisions.

He said Section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party.

The section reads: “No political appointee at any level shall be voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”


He stated that the provision introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that wad ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification.

Shortly after signing the Bill into law, President Buhari sent an amendment to the National Assembly, which the Senate refused to pass into law last week.

Speaking on the issue, weekend, Abaribe, who is angling to succeed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State in 2023, said the Electoral Act is a piece of good legislation that is meant to cure the ills of previous electoral acts and makes rigging of elections almost impossible.

Aside providing for direct transmission of results from polling booths, it empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to reject results its officers announced under duress.


On the controversies trailing Section 84 (12), Abaribe said the section codifies what already is supposed to be the norm in our civil service and society.

“Before, the norm is if you want to run for office, you resign. Now, people stay in office and use state resources to run for office and the office suffers. No law is made to be retrogressive. It did not say you should resign three months to the elections. It says if you want to be a delegate, you will have to resign. The stipulation as to time is what is in the Civil Service Rule, that is 30 days before primaries or congresses you ought to resign.

“The parties have not set their dates for primaries. When they do, the 30 days will now set in. The President says it conflicts with the Constitution. We don’t know what he meant. What we know is that if you are in office and running without resigning, your office will suffer. When we got his letter, we said he must have been misadvised by some people.”


On Abia, he said currently he is the most experienced and capable person to take the state to greater heights after Ikpeazu’s tenure.



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