The House of Representatives has amended the controversial clause 84 of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by adopting a harmonised version of the Clause with that of the Senate.
On Tuesday, the houses amended the clause by adding “consensus” as a third option for the nomination of candidates of political parties for election in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Recall, the president refused to assent to the bill on the account of the said clause 84. However, the lawmakers adopted a harmonised version of Clause 84 of the Bill with that of the Senate.
What the lawmakers are saying
Adding consensus brings the options to three – direct primaries, indirect primaries and nomination by consensus.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila told the house that the step became necessary in order to speed up the passage of the bill and its transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
He said the house had concluded its task on the Amendment to the Electoral Act by passing the amendment to Clause 84 on the mode of conducting primaries by parties to produce candidates.
The speaker said without the consensus option in the House’s version of the bill would mean that both chambers would have to raise conference committees to reconcile their differences which could further delay the bill, which was needless.
Rep Benjamin Kalu, the Spokesperson of the House of Reps told newsmen that the house observed that the Senate added consensus which was not part of the president’s recommendations.
He said the house in its wisdom admitted that such differences in the mode of party primaries by the two chambers could be an issue that would cause a delay in the president assenting to the bill.
“So, we decided to waive the house rule to enable us, look at other options that will satisfy the needs of time. The political parties are calling for full options, which are direct, indirect and consensus.
“And where such consensus fails, it shall go to direct or indirect primary or a special convention shall be held to ratify the choice of a consensus candidate,” he said.
In case you missed it
Nairametrics had reported that the house of reps rescinded its decision on the adoption of direct primaries as the only mode of selection of candidates to represent parties during elections in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.