From Emmanuel Iyoho,
An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Ubong Emmanuel, has urged members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the amendment of relevant provisions of the1999 Constitution to bring it in tandem with the innovation introduced under the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2022 as assented by the President.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently signed Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law about a month after the National Assembly sent the bill to him.
Fielding questions from Pioneer Politics on the important of amending the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2022, Ubong Emmanuel, emphasized the necessity of the amendment of the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution, saying, “Once the amendment is done, the simultaneous equal is solved and the matter rested.”
According to him, this is the more reason why the National Assembly should hasten up activities on its ongoing efforts towards amending the 1999 Constitution to serve the best interest of the generality of Nigerians whether home or abroad.”
Emmanuel said, “Let me also use this occasion to say that we must start thinking and planning on electronic mail voting as is done in more developed and advanced countries in the world such as the State of Nevada and other states in the United States of America to mention a few.
He noted, “This is the 21st century where we can make positive change possible that will bring about our national political and economic development. We must work hard on it and not allow anything to hold us back.”
Responding to President Buhari’s address, the legal practitioner commended the President for signing the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2022, saying the Act has a far more reaching and innovative effect compared to the previous ones.
According to Emmanuel, with the introduction of technological devices, and democratic principles that create room for equal opportunity for all political party aspirants and candidates, giving the example of the introduction of Smart Card Reader and maintenance of a National Voter Database, among many other lofty innovations.
On the provision of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022, Emmanuel noted, “section 84 (12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2022 constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the National Election”.
He said, “The germane question at this juncture is: what was the intention of the legislation or National Assembly in including that clause into the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2022? Or what was the mischief or existing or current state of affairs that warranted or necessitated the introduction and inclusion of that clause into the bill as it were?
The answer to this question Emmanuel stated, “is not farfetched because as Nigerians whether home or in diaspora, we are not ignorant of the threat that political office holders or appointees pose to the electoral system. Particularly, the imbalance, inequality of bargaining power in the political processes.”
He said, “Take for instance, situations where a political appointee is contesting for an office with another private person who does not have access to the corridor of power. We find cases where public funds and resources are being dissipated by public office holders with effrontery and impunity; at the chagrin and dismay or detriment of his opponents. Therefore, this situation creates an imbalance and inequality of bargaining power for the support of the electorate between the political office-holders and the private individual.”
According to him, section 84 (12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2022 is well intentioned as it aims at eliminating such occurrence and imbalance within the electoral processes.
Imagine when a political office holder will be using security operatives paid from the public funds to harass his opponent or using public funds on his personal political activities at the detriment of his political opponents.