Bill to set up Electoral Offences Commission to be passed by National Assembly- Senator Gaya

2023: Nigeria must learn from US election - Senator Gaya - Daily Post  Nigeria
Olusola Bello
A bill that would establish electoral offences commission is to be passed soon by the National Assembly. The bill will be a separate one from the Electoral Amendment bill presently before the legislators on which work is almost being concluded.
If the Electoral Offences Act scale through the legislative procedures, it is hoped that this may instill some level of confidence in Nigerians and investors alike. Foreign investors are always scared coming to Nigeria because of flawed electoral systems which most often lead to political crisis which ultimately affect investment in the country.  This also heightened the country’s political risk in the eyes of international investors.
Senator Kabiru Gaya, chairman, Committee on Independent  National Electoral  Commission (INEC)  at National Assembly, disclosed  this  Tuesday  on Channel Television programme , Politics Today.
He said the electoral offences act when passed to law would take care of all forms  of misdemeanor by  people who take delight in taken undue advantage of  the week electoral system  to go against the rules and processes  that are meant to guide  elections in the country.
He said: “The law will be passed very soon and it would checkmate any act of violence, ballot snatching during elections, fighting and all form of banditry during election period”.   The bill would be the next to be dealt with after the current Electoral Act amendment bill is passed into law.
On the Electoral Act Amendment bill before the National Assembly, the Senator said , it is ready and would  be passed into law soon.
He said:  “I remembered that I had promised that the bill would be passed in the first quarter of 2021. Members of the committee have done their jobs, with public hearing done; retreat conducted for members, virtually the bill is ready.”
He said however, there is the need to get the leadership of the national assembly involved, so that the committee programme can be included in the timetable programme that would facilitate the passage of the bill into law.
“I know we have other important bills also along the line. For instance, there is the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is very important economically, especially for the country, this bill is also being worked upon”.
The Senator expressed hope that before  members of  the National Assembly  go on break, they would be able to pass the electoral  Amendment act  into law, saying that member of the committee have gone through a lot of processes, taking views from a lot of Nigerians and stakeholders  just to ensure that act is passed.
He believes the bill would help in resolving litigations in courts and other issues relating to elections. “I also believe it would ensure free, fair and credible elections”.
Nigerians, he said, should be patient with the committee as they would definitely deliver something good to the country.
On the issue of electonic voting ,he said  INEC has been  given the liberty  to deploy any technology that would help facility transparency  and deliver credible electoral system.
Meanwhile, Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has called for the strengthening of the nation’s electoral laws in such a way that only the ballot paper, and not the courts, is allowed to determine the winners of elections.
The former President stressed that the standard practice is that the electoral management bodies exercise the sole responsibility of returning candidates and declaring winners while the judiciary complements by either upholding declared results or nullifying flawed elections and ordering a rerun
According to a statement yesterday by his Special Assistant, Ikechukwu Eze, the former President stated this on Monday in an interaction with newsmen during a visit to TOSTV Network studios in Abuja.
He said: “I had already made a public statement on that to the effect that the ballot paper and not the judiciary should determine who wins elections or select political leaders. The ballot paper should be the only basis for selecting political leaders.”
Jonathan further noted that countries that conduct free and fair elections experience fewerelection-related litigations while numerous court cases following elections are the hallmark of fragile democracies.

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