These are 12 major provisions in the revised Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari today.
1. It provides three months for appointees to resign from their positions before party conventions or congresses, with speculations that it is meant to disqualify the number of political appointees by governors as delegates.
2.It stipulates offences and sanctions in relation to the finances of political parties, limitation on the amount of money or other assets which an individual can contribute to a party or candidate and to demand such information on the amount donated and source of the funds, as well as limitation of election expenses.
3. Imposes a N5 million fine or two years imprisonment or both on any Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff for being a member of a political party, misrepresenting himself by not disclosing his membership, affiliation, or connection to any political party in order to secure an appointment with the commission in any capacity.
4. Empowers INEC not to stop the registration of voters, updating and revision of the register of voters until 90 days before any election, while Clause 10(3) further mandates the commission to make available to every political party, names and addresses of each person registered during that year, within 60 days after each year.
5. Provides for a fine of N100,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both for anyone who corruptly influences any person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or being a voter, corruptly accepts or takes money or any other inducement.
6. States that a person who directly or indirectly, by his or herself or by another person on his or her behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restrain; inflicts or threatens to inflict by his or herself or by any other person, any minor or serious injury, damage, harm or loss on or against a person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of such person having voted or refrained from voting…. commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of three years.
7. It provides relevant procedures for political aspirants on the use of the media, designated vehicles, mobilisation of political support and campaign during election, as well as sanctions including imprisonment for anyone that may undermine the provisions of the law.
8. It provides procedures for a political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections to conduct primaries for all the aspirants into all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the commission.
9. The display of the copies of the voters’ list, revision officer for hearing of claims, proprietary rights in the voters’ card, offences of buying and selling voters’ cards and offences relating to register of voters, respectively.
10. It addresses over 300 flaws (including new provisions) in the Electoral Act, 2010. Section 84(3) of the bill provides that: “a political party shall not impose nomination qualification or disqualification criteria, measures, or conditions on any aspirant or candidate for any election in its constitution, guidelines, or rules for nomination of candidates for elections, except as prescribed under some sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
11. It provides that a political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure such that the aspirant with the highest number of votes cast at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the presidential primaries of the political party and that aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the commission as the candidate of the party.
12. It provides that a political party that adopts a consensus candidate 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.