Nigerian Senate Announces Amendments to the National Electoral Act, Encouraging Voting Abroad

Nigerian Senate Announces Amendments to the National Electoral Act, Encouraging Voting Abroad Nigerian Senate Announces Amendments to the National Electoral Act, Encouraging Voting Abroad

“Nigerian Senate Announces Comprehensive Electoral Act Amendments, Including Diaspora Voting, National Security Reforms, and Economic Intervention Bill”

The Nigerian Senate has announced its intention to amend the 2022 Electoral Act, introducing provisions for diaspora voting, primarily for presidential elections. This move aims to empower citizens residing abroad, particularly those on essential service duty such as military, paramilitary, and other security personnel, embassy staff, and other Nigerian citizens living abroad.

The decision to amend the Electoral Act was revealed in a communiqué released by the Senate at the conclusion of its retreat held in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa-Ibom State. The proposed changes to the Electoral Act encompass several key areas.

First and foremost, the amendment seeks to make electronic transmission of election results mandatory. It would require the uploading of polling unit-level results and result sheets used at different levels of result collation. This shift towards electronic transmission and transparency is expected to enhance the integrity of the electoral process.

Of particular note is the introduction of diaspora voting, which will be implemented, at least for presidential elections. This is seen as a critical step to enable Nigerian citizens living abroad to actively participate in the democratic process, ensuring that their voices are heard.

The Senate also emphasized the need to unbundle the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness in organizing and conducting elections.

In addition to electoral reforms, the communiqué underscored the necessity of developing and enacting a comprehensive national security strategy. This strategy would outline the nation’s security objectives, threats, and policy priorities, providing a vital framework for legislative action in the security sector.

The Senate pointed out that addressing the root causes of terrorism and banditry, often linked to poverty, inequality, and a lack of opportunity, is essential. It advocated for promoting community policing and engagement to identify and prevent terrorist attacks and working closely with civil society organizations and local communities to address security concerns.

Moreover, the Senate urged the establishment of independent oversight mechanisms for the security sector, which could investigate allegations of abuse and corruption, ensuring that security forces are held accountable under the law.

Recognizing the significance of legislative engagement and oversight in the security sector, the Senate called for comprehensive legislative reforms to equip the legislative branch with the necessary tools and mechanisms to fulfill its crucial role in security sector reform.

To enhance national security, the Senate suggested that the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives should be part of the weekly security briefing provided to the President, fostering more direct and robust communication.

Shifting focus to economic concerns, the Senate proposed the enactment of an Emergency Economic Intervention Bill to address critical socio-economic issues. This bill aims to manage foreign exchange, tackle inflation, stimulate economic growth, and generate employment opportunities. Furthermore, the Senate emphasized the need for legislation to clearly define the taxing rights of the three levels of government, ensuring clarity and accountability in fiscal matters.

In conclusion, the Nigerian Senate’s proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, emphasis on national security, and economic interventions represent a comprehensive approach to addressing critical issues in the country, aiming to enhance the democratic process, security, and economic stability. These developments are expected to have a profound impact on Nigeria’s political and socio-economic landscape.


Written by Nwokwu Chukwuemeka (Obinwannem News correspondent Ebonyi State)
Date: October 22, 2023
Published by Ugwu Okechukwu (Obinwannem ndi Igbo)

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