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Reps Back Consensus Candidacy For All Positions In New Electoral Law

As part of the avenues for selection flag bearers by political parties in an election, House of Representatives has agreed with the Senate on the inclusion of consensus candidacy in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The decision was reached on Tuesday following a leadership meeting chaired by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila during which it was agreed that the House goes with the Senate without necessarily going to a conference committee with a view to enable speedy passage and presidential assent.

Gbajabiamila while introducing the subject called for a motion for recession of the earlier amendment which excluded the consensus clause, so as to accommodate the Senate version of the amendment, with a proviso that it must apply to all elective positions.

Similarly, the House Leader, Ado Doguwa, therefore moved that before the House could go into adopting the said clause, the relevant rules should be suspended to enable it go outside the clause sent back by the president for amendment.

His motion was reechoed by the Speaker, who called on the deputy House leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason to second.

With the secondment, the Speaker dissolved the House into the committee of the whole to consider the new amendment.

“The first relevant clause here is 84 (2) which says the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct, indirect primaries or consensus.

“The second provision is sub 84 sub 3. It talks about qualifications of aspirants sand candidates and it says a political party shall not impose nomination qualifications or disqualification criteria, measure or conditions on any aspirant or candidates for an election its constitution guidelines or rules for nomination of candidates for elections, except as prescribed under section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177 and 187 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999.

“This means that so party can disqualify anybody expect in accordance with the constitution,

“The other provision here that is relevant in terms of consideration.

“Direct primaries has been defined, indirect primary has been defined and then the new consensus provision has now been defined and guidelines stipulated in the new law and it says:

“9(a).“a political party that adopts a consensus candidates shall secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the position indicating their voluntary withdrawal from the race and their endorsement of the consensus candidate.

“9(b). Where a political party is unable to secure the written consent of all aspirants for the purpose of a consensus candidates, it shall revert to the choice of direct or indirect primaries for the nomination of candidates for the aforesaid elective position.

“9(c). A special convention or nomination congress shall be held to ratify the choice of consensus candidates at designated centres at the national, states, senatorial, federal and state constituencies as the case may be.

“That puts an end to hopefully what would be a brand new forward thinking progressive electoral law,” the Speaker stated, dropping the gavel on the amendment process”.

While reverting back to plenary, the Speaker recalled the amendments caused to Clause 84(2) paragraphs 1 to 13 as carried at the committee of the whole.

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