Today, the National Assembly approved changes to Nigeria’s electoral act. Here are 8 things you need to know about it:
1. INSTANT ELECTRONIC (NO MORE MANUAL) TRANSMISSION OF RESULTS: The overarching objective of this new electoral act is to reduce human interference in the electoral process and minimize corruption. In this regard, the Electoral Act amendment mandates the immediate transmission of voting results from polling units to collation centers. This will help to give real-time results and updates and reduce the opportunity for rigging election significantly.
2. SECTION 15: ONLINE PUBLICATION OF VOTER REGISTERS: This amendment provides a fair and more level playing ground for all contestants by mandating INEC to publish all voter registers 30 days before the election. This will end the manipulation of voter registers. In the case of missing names on the voter register, voters have 30 days to complain to INEC.
3. NEW SECTION 49 FULL BIOMETRIC ACCREDITATION: The Electoral Act amendment gives INEC powers to utilize full biometric accreditation of voters with smart card readers and/or other technological devices, as INEC may introduce for elections from time to time.
4. REMOVES UNFAIR QUALIFICATION PROCESSES: The Electoral Act amendment ensures that political parties can no longer impose arbitrary qualification criteria on candidates. This will encourage younger voters to contest, promote competition in the process, and make elections more free and fair.
5. CONFLICT RESOLUTION MECHANISMS: The Electoral Act amendment sets out a more rigorous process for the determination of candidates, as well as creates dispute resolution mechanisms that will allow those who are aggrieved to petition quickly.
6: NEW SECTION 87 (3) MAXIMUM EXPENSES: The Electoral Act amendment sets out the maximum expenses that can be incurred by every politician who is seeking election, as well as designates the fees that aspirants will pay to political parties to purchase forms. This means that our elections will no longer be about money and politics, but about competence.
7. NEW SECTIONS 33-38 SUBSTITUTION, RESIGNATION & REPLACEMENT: The Electoral Act amendment ensures that the names of candidates must be submitted not earlier than 90 days before the election, and not later than 60 days before the election. Additionally, candidates can only be substituted not later than 30 days before the election. Additionally, in the case of resignations, the person who is resigning must do so physically (in-person) — and his/her resignation letter will be transmitted to INEC.
8. NEW SECTION 33-34 DEATH: The Electoral Act amendment specifies that in the case of a death occurring before an election, such election will be suspended for 21 days and a replacement will be done within 14 days (after new primaries) — the remaining the 7 days will be used for campaigning.
9. NEW SECTION 87 REMOVAL OF IMPOSITION OF CANDIDATES
the new amendments will see to the death of imposition of candidates by parties. Under this nw section the procedures imposed for nomination and holding of primaries will ensure that whoever emerges will only do so as a result of the decision of the members of the party not a few persons.