Nnamani Committee recommends dispensing with all legal matters before swearing in candidates

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The Senator Nnamani’s Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee has recommended that winners of elections in Nigeria must discharge with all pending legal matters before they are sworn into office.

This was one out of the several recommendations contained in the report the committee submitted on Tuesday in Abuja to the Attorney -General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The report also included draft bills on the amendment of relevant provisions of the Constitution and an amendment of the Electoral Act.

The Committee also recommended that any member of the legislature who defects from his political party to another must lose his or her seat in the parliament.

As part of efforts to sanitize the political space, the 25- member committee also recommended the creation of a Political Parties and Electoral Offences Commission.

The Commission, when created, is to regulate the works of the parties and also bring political actors to account for violation of electoral laws.

Other recommendations included the creation of Constituency Delimitation Centres that would address the issue of constituency delimitation.

The committee also recommended independent candidacy to expand the political space and also free candidates from the stranglehold of political parties.

Receiving the report, Malami said the committee’s recommendations would guide the Federal Government in preparing various proposals for the further amendment of the Constitution to improve the electoral system in Nigeria.

He said the Committee made recommendations on how to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the participation of independent candidates in elections and management of political parties.

Malami further disclosed that the recommendation also dealt with the ”irritating issue” of electoral offences, management of electoral dispute resolution and specific legal provisions impacting on the electoral process.

The minister said that it was President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s goal to change the unethical way in which electoral officers had managed elections in the past.

He noted that government had taken steps to remove all electoral officers who collected money to frustrate the 2015 general election.

“So far 200 INEC officials have been suspended while some are still under investigation and would be duly prosecuted.”

He assured that the committee that report and the draft amendment bills would be submitted to the president immediately for consideration and onward transmission to the National Assembly.

While submitting the report, Chairman of the Committee Sen. Ken Nnamani said it has attached four drafts bills as part of its report to quicken the amendment of relevant provisions of the Constitution.

The committee was inaugurated on Oct. 4, 2016 to review the Constitution and Electoral Act as part of government’s efforts to improve the country’s electoral process.

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