The Federal House of Representatives, has revealed Wednesday January 19, 2022, as new date to amend and pass the electoral bill earlier rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This was disclosed by Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, saying that the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill will be re-introduced into the house, to be amended and passed on the same day.
Gbajabiamila stated this during his opening address as the National Assembly returned from break on Tuesday.
He reiterated the benefits of restricting political parties to direct primary and criticized parties for lacking comprehensive membership registers, adding that a strict direct primary option would force the parties to have a documented register.
The Speaker said the fact that the 2023 general elections are fast approaching is a pointer to the need for the lawmakers to fast track work all recommended electoral reforms.
Gbajabiamila called to mind that the parliament had the options of overriding the veto of the President Muhammadu Buhari or amending the bill following the his observations.
He partly said, “Unfortunately, that bill did not receive presidential assent and it is unlikely that it will in its current form. Now, we have to choose between sticking to our guns regarding the provision to mandate direct primary for political parties or reworking that provision to save the rest of the bill.
“I remain convinced that the proposal for direct primary is valuable for building accountability in our political system but we must not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.
“Therefore, the House will reintroduce the amendment tomorrow and we will work quickly to address the mitigating concerns, pass the bill and send it back to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, for assent.”
Gbajabiamila also decried the errors said to have been discovered in the bill, noting that the version transmitted to the President was different from the one being scrutinised by the public.
The Speaker said he had, however, set up a technical committee to peruse the legislation which is expected to report back by Thursday.