Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Monday said that the National Assembly wants rearrangement of the order of election to help voters to judge each candidate on his or her own merit at each level of election.
Ekweremadu said that the rearrangement of the order of election as passed by the House of Representatives, if adopted by the Conference Committee of both Houses, would no doubt help the electorate to make up their minds on each candidate seeking their votes at each level of election.
He also assured that legislative work on the Electoral Act and the Constitution amendment would be concluded in a matter of weeks.
Ekweremadu was said to have stated this when he received a delegation of the British High Commission in Nigeria led by the High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright.
A statement by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Deputy Senate President, Uche Anichukwu said that Ekweremadu expressed gratitude to the British Government for always showing interest in state of the Nigerian union and her democracy.
It said that Ekweremadu noted that concluding the amendments to the Electoral Act and Constitution amendment was top on the priority list of the 8th National Assembly to ensure better governance and smooth elections in 2019.
The Deputy Senate President was quoted to have said: “The 2019 election is very important to Nigeria. The amendments to the Electoral Act and the Constitution all form part of the ongoing electoral reform to continue to improve on the quality of our elections.
“In the previous amendment, a timeframe was set for the determination of election petitions. Now we are working on setting a timeframe for pre-election matters. In the previous amendments, we also created a window for direct and indirect primary by political parties.
“In the current amendment, we want to make more elaborate provisions regarding direct party primaries for political parties that may wish to adopt it to ensure greater fairness, transparency, and internal democracy in choosing their flag bearers.
“We are also working to lift the restrictions on the use of electronic voting by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. That way, it will be up to the election management body to determine if it is sufficiently prepared to deploy electronic voting or when to adopt electronic voting.”
He said, “The bottom line is that the Conference Committees on both the Electoral Act and Constitution Amendment are meeting separately this week to conclude work on the entire amendments to ensure a smoother and more credible electoral processes as well as promote good governance of the country.”
It said that the British High Commissioner, Arkwright, noted that they came to see Ekweremadu on political developments, especially as it concerned the prospects for the People’s Democratic Party and legislative activities of the National Assembly.
“The legislative programme, which you have in the Senate and the National Assembly, the changes to the electoral laws are also important to us”, Arkwright was quoted to have said.