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Senate transmits independent candidacy bill to Buhari for assent

May 16, 2023

The Senate, on Tuesday, directed the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) to transmit a constitution alteration bill No. 58 to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent in line with the provisions of the Authentication Act.

The bill seeks to provide for independent candidacy in presidential, governorship, national and state assemblies and local government councils elections.

The Clerk was also directed to transmit to the president, constitution amendment bill No. 46, which seeks to include the presiding officers of the National Assembly in the membership of the National Security Council.

The two proposals were part of the constitutional alteration bills transmitted to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence last year but not part of the 35 that secured the required approval of 24 out of 36 state assemblies.

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, in a motion during Tuesday’s plenary, informed his colleagues that the Gombe State House of Assembly has approved the Constitution Alteration Bill Nos. 46 and 58 and forwarded its resolution to the National Assembly.

Omo-Agege, who is the Chairman of the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review, said with the approval of the Gombe assembly, the bills on the independent candidacy and inclusion of National Assembly presiding officers in the National Security Council members have met the provisions of Section 9(2) of the Constitution for passage.

The Senate, after adopting the motion, directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to transmit the bills to the president for his assent.

The parliament had earlier transmitted 35 constitution alteration bills to the president for assent out of which 19 were rejected and 16 signed into law.

On May 2, 2023, the National Assembly approved a uniform retirement age for judicial officers after it met constitutional requirements.

The state assemblies that are yet to forward their resolutions on the constitution amendment bills are Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Plateau and Taraba.

Requirements for independent candidacy reads; “For any Nigerian national to contest the presidential election as an independent candidate, he or she must obtain the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each State of the Federation provided that a registered voter shall not sign for more than one independent candidate in respect of the same office.

“For governorship, the independent candidate must obtain the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas of the state.”

The bill also states that “anyone willing to contest National Assembly elections, he or she must obtain the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas in the respective senatorial district or federal constituency.”

The proposed legislation empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prescribe the payment of administrative fees by independent candidates for respective elections.

It mandates the electoral body to waive fifty per cent of the administrative fees for women candidates among others. (Nigerian Tribune)

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