By BODE GBADEBO AND EMAMEH GABRIEL, Abuja
The passage of Electoral Act (as amended) may not be feasible in the first quarter of 2021 as earlier promised by the leadership of the National Assembly.
Chairman of the National Assembly and president of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, made this known yesterday during an engagement of the Joint Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters.
Ahmed Lawan, was reacting to a presentation made by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu on challenges before the commission and measures being put in place to address them.
It would be recalled that chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya told LEADERSHIP in an exclusive interview that 85% of the section of the Electoral Act has been amended, assuring that the Bill would be passed into law in the first quarter of 2021.
Gaya said: “It is the end of the first quarter of the year, which is the end of March 2021. We are working with attorney-general’s office because if we pass the Bill to Mr President to assent he will ask for their consent, but if they are carried along into the preparation they will simply advise the president to sign.
However, this might not be feasible as National Assembly has shifted the goalposts again.
According to him, “The electoral act amendment is something that we have taken very seriously and our committees both in the Senate and the House are working so hard and the two chambers are prepared to look into the report.
“Let me take this opportunity to assure Nigerians that Electoral Act Amendment, the constitutional review that our committees, both in the House and Senate are doing, will be passed before we go on our summer break. Our summer break is normally between June and July, said Lawan.
“We want to do a very thorough job. We want to create a legislative amendment that will ensure our electoral environment is enhanced. That our elections are better in terms of integrity, in terms of
transparency and we believe that when we are able to do that between June and July, we still be one and half year away from the 2023 general elections”, he added.