Electoral Act to become law January 2017

CHAIRMAN of the Senate Committee of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Habu Kyari, has said that the electoral act will be ready by December, this year.

Speaking with newsmen in Maiduguri, on Tuesday, Senator Kyari said himself and his members had vowed to ensure that the bill was ready two years before the 2019 general election.

He, however, revealed that the committee was worried about the myriads of lacuna existing in the present law which the last Senate never envisaged and was bent on filling all the gaps before December.

He assured Nigerians that from the present speed being employed by his colleagues, it was hopeful that the president would sign same into law before the end of January, 2017.

On the pending Edo State governorship elections, Senator Kyari noted that up till the last minute, INEC insisted it would conduct the elections, but from the sequel to all the security reports, it was clear there was need for adjustment of dates.

According to him, reasons for postponement were so strong that his committee was tempted to agree with the developments in case anything happens there would be problems.

He, however, advised INEC and players to stick squarely with the guidelines than run foul of the law when dealing with dicey situations.

“Mind you, it may not be permissible to say postponement is a characteristic of only the new chairman or have you forgotten that there was postponement during Professor Jega too? Even in 2011, in Imo and Bauchi, there were inconclusive elections.

“There are other factor responsible for inconclusive elections. The parties equally play a major role which you all know about as it is in Rivers and Kogi states. All of  a sudden, a party finds itself with power and many others like internal democracy. Look at the APC for instance, all of a sudden becoming a big party, it’s not easy. The internal clashes and the sudden grip on power. All these have nothing to do with the INEC if you check.

“As we speak, we have four empty senatorial positions to fill and 18 in the House of Representatives and all must be done by the new man. He is doing his best. He is a first-class brain and we are satisfied with him.

On what to expect before the next elections, he said “there is a bill on electronic voting, card reader and diaspora voting during elections and a lot of consultations must take place if all these must pass before next year.”

Other front-burning issues in his committee include independent candidature and all the defects needing attention in the last bill.

Last year, 20 amendments were effected two days and signed by the president before elections with one of the areas being the provision of armed forces during elections and these are some of the fire brigade methodologies they are trying to avoid while there is plenty of time.