By John Ikani
The Senate, on Tuesday, amended section 84(8) of the Electoral Act 2022, to allow ‘statutory delegates’ – all elected political office-holders – to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.
Those identified as ‘statutory delegates’ include the President, Vice President, Members of the National Assembly, Governors and their deputies, Members of the State Houses of Assembly, Chairmen of Councils, Councillors, National Working Committee of political parties, amongst others.
While assenting the electoral act in February, President Buhari asked parliament to amend section 84(12) which bars all appointees of government from voting or be voted for during key meetings, elections or any such actions of political parties.
Ministers, Commissioners and all other appointees like aides and others are barred by section 84(12).
The Red Chamber amended section 84(8) after considering a bill sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, during plenary on Tuesday.
With the amendment, all the elected officials are now free to participate and vote in conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.
Speaking after the bill was passed, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the “unintended clause” has to be amended before commencement of party primaries.
According to him, the amendment had become imperative to ensure that no one is denied his rights during political parties’ activities.
He went on to disclose that the House of Representatives would also passed the same amendment on Wednesday before transmitting it to the president for assent latest next week.