Yesterday, it was learned that The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is proposing 34 amendments to the Electoral Law.
Oluwatoyin Babalola, Director of Legal Services, said that there are some shortcomings in the electoral legal framework that must be addressed through legislation.
In addition, Sam Olumekun, Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner, said the delimitation of electoral districts was long overdue, according to the 1999 Constitution.
He said the last delimitation of the constituency was made “a long time ago,” adding that the country’s population and registered voters have increased exponentially, reinforcing an urgent review for proportional and fair representation.
The president of INEC, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu said that the agency remains committed to revising the Electoral Law to improve the better conduct of elections.
INEC chiefs spoke in Lagos yesterday at the opening of a week-long retreat on the revision of the electoral legal framework organized jointly by the commission, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the European Center for Electoral Support (ECES).
The 37 RECs, national commissioners and INEC directors were present at the retreat.
Members of the National Assembly Committees on Electoral Affairs and INEC will on Thursday and Friday join the retreat for what Yakubu called “a thorough review of their proposals and the commission’s contribution”.
Babalola said the gap in the provisions of the existing 2010 Electoral Law (as amended) was identified and highlighted by stakeholders and INEC, adding that there have been calls in recent times for amendments to address the gap to promote better elections.
She recalled that, although INEC’s proposals were accepted, the amended Electoral Law was not signed into law by the executive branch of the government.
Noting that the retreat was organized to allow election officials to contribute ideas and harmonize contributions, Babalola said: “There are 34 proposed amendments drawn up in four columns.”
Lagos REC explained the importance of special courts for electoral offenses, saying that special courts should have a definite deadline for trial and the speedy administration of justice.
Regarding electoral disputes, Olumekun said: “The commission must critically examine the issue of conflict of interest among our external lawyers who represent the petitioners in other matters.
“The commission must ensure that these solicitors do not represent any petitioners during the period of electoral petitions in the courts and tribunals of the competent jurisdiction.
“While we appreciate the commission’s effort to deal with legal issues, the commission should continue to equip the Legal Department and prepare the team to represent the commission on electoral issues.”
Yakubu said the retreat intended to finalize INEC’s comprehensive proposal to the National Assembly to amend the electoral legal framework.
He added: “Our draft is ready, but it requires an additional internal review before submission to the National Assembly.”
The president of INEC said that the revision of the electoral act will increase citizens’ confidence, increase the credibility and transparency of the electoral process; entrench internal democracy in political parties; reduce violence, expand the scope of participation of women, youth and people living with disabilities; deepen the use of technology and promote INEC’s independence.
He added: “I am happy to know that members of the Senate Committee at INEC and the Chamber of Deputies’ Electoral Affairs Committee are joining us on Thursday and Friday for an in-depth analysis of their proposal and our contributions. .
“It is the first time that the National Assembly and INEC have met in electoral reform. We are looking forward to this opportunity to serve Nigerians better. “