Card reader amendment will complicate voting process, says Senator Hunkuyi

Card reader amendment will complicate voting process, says Senator Hunkuyi

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The rejected 2010 Electoral Act Amendment Bill appears to be an embodiment of controversial clauses as Senators on Wednesday took turn to faults several sections of the bill.

Recall that on September 3, senior special assistant to the president on electoral matters (senate), Ita Enang, had announced President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to decline assent on bill.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Suleiman Nazif, in a four-page lead debate of a Bill for an Act to Amend the provisions of the Electoral Act No.6 2010 and Electoral Amendment and fother related matters, said the observations of the president on the bill ranging from election sequence down to cross referencing shall be addressed by the committee.

Contributing to the INEC committee’s submission, Senator Kabir Marafa expressed reservation about pegging of elections expenses.

He said: “I don’t see the logic in pegging the amount to be contributed to a candidate. We all know that this won’t stand because people are going to spend much more than that.”

Also contributing, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said: “I’m very worried about item seven, which is on missing name of a candidate on the ballot paper.

This provision, he said, is very dangerous because somebody who knows he can’t win election will raise the alarm and makes other candidates suffer for it.

On his part, Senator Kabir Gaya emphasised that the issues raised by the president are vital “and since the committee said it would look into them, I believe the committee should come up with all the areas for us to discuss.”

Senator Ali Ndume, in his submission, said he aligned himself with the submission of Ekweremadu on the omission of party logo by INEC.

He said: “I want to add to what the Deputy Senate president said on the omission of logos. Prior to election day, a copy of the ballot papers should be made available to political parties to check their names and logos. If we allow it to go like this, there will be room for manipulation. A sample of the ballot paper should be displayed two weeks to the election for all parties to see.”

Also contributing, Senator Dino Melaye drew his colleagues’ attention to the issue of parties’ primaries which he described as a serious recipe for danger.

He said: “It can be used to witch-hunt political enemies. There’s a subsisting judgment by the Supreme Court that the issue of nomination is the prerogative of the political parties. This is a very dangerous trend.”

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, while summing up deliberations, said the bill should be referred to the Committee on Electoral Matters.

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