Barring last-minute changes the Senate and House of Representatives will on Tuesday receive the report of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Contrary to the inputs made by various stakeholders during the public hearings who called for electronic transmission of election results, the Committee introduced a new section to make electronic voting optional.
Some of the key amendments include: Sections 2, 49, 50, 51, 52, 85, 86, 87, respectively.
Investigations revealed that the changes were contained in Section (2) of the bill.
Section 50(1 and 2) provides that: “section (50) (1) Voting at an election under this bill shall be open secret ballot.
“(2) Voting at an election under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission which may include electronic voting provided that the Commission shall not transmit results of elections by electronic means.”
Section 49 of the bill also empowers the Commission to separate male and female voters from one queue in areas where such culture is prevalent.
It reads “The Presiding officer shall separate the queue between men and women if in that area of the country the culture is such that it does not permit the mingling of men and women in the same queue.”
The bill also stipulates benchmarks to elections donations and expenses by both political parties and individuals.
While a presidential candidate is to spend a maximum of N15 billion on election expenses, the governorship candidate is to spend N5 billion.
Section 85 of the bill which provides for penalties for any contravention that may be incurred by the parties, provides that: “Any political party that- (a) holds or posses any fund outside Nigeria in contravention of section 225 (3)(a) of the Constitution commits an offence and shall on conviction forfeits the funds or assets purchased with such funds to the Commission and in addition may be liable to a fine of at least N5 million or (b) retains any fund or other asset remitted to it from outside Nigeria in contravention of section 225(3)(a) of the constitution is guilty of an offence and shall on conviction forfeits the funds or assets to the Commission and in addition may be liable to a fine of at least N5 million.
“Section 86(1) Every political party shall submit to the Commission a detailed annual statement of Assets and Liabilities and analysis of its of funds d other assets together with statements of its expenditure including hard and soft copy of its list of members or in such a form as the Commission may from time to time require.
“(2) Any official of the political party who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable to fine of N1 million or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.
“(3) A political party shall grant to any officer authorised in writing by the Commission, access to examine the records and audited accounts kept by the political party in accordance with the provisions of this bill and the political party shall give to the office all such information as may be requested in relation to all contributions received by or on behalf of the party.
“Section 87 (1) The Commission shall have the power to place a limitation on the amount of money or other assets which an individual can contribute to a political party or candidate and demand such information on the amount donated and source of the funds.
“(2) Any individual, candidate or political party who exceeds the limit placed by the Commission in subsection (1) commits an offence and liable on conviction to-(a) a case of political party, a fine not more than N10 million and forfeiture of the amount donated and (b) in case of an individual, a fine of five times the amount donated in excess of the limit placed by the Commission.
“Section(1) Election expenses shall not exceed the sum stipulated in subsections (2), (3), (4), (5), (6)and (7) .
“(2) The maximum election expenses to be incured by a candidate at a presidential election shall not exceed N15 billion.
“(3) The maximum of election expenses to be incured by a candidate in respect of governorship election shall not exceed N5 billion.
“(4) The maximum of election expenses to be incured by a candidate in respect of senatorial and House of Representatives seats shall not exceed N1.500 billion and N500 million respectively.
“(5) In the case of State Assembly election, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incured by a candidate shall not exceed N50 million.
“(6) In the case of a chairmanship election to an area Council, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incured by a candidate shall not exceed N50 million.
“(7) In the case of Councillorship election to an area Council, the maximum amount of election expenses to be incured by a candidate shall not exceed N5 million.
“(9) No individual shall donate to a candidate any amount of money that is more than N50 million.”
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