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Senate pledges to safeguard Electoral Act ahead of 2023 elections

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The National Assembly will work to alter the election statute to provide protection against the law’s flaws, according to Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Lawan made this pronouncement on Tuesday, during plenary, following Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi’s introduction of a matter of national concern.

The Senate President referred to the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act as a landmark decision that upholds the legitimacy of the National Assembly.

He said that more changes to the Act will make it stronger in time for the general elections of 2023.

Lawan said, “Let me say that this is one major landmark judgment by the Supreme Court, that the National Assembly had done their job and the court upheld it.

“The idea of what method of primaries should be adopted at the moment is entirely left for the political parties to decide.

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“But as we implement the electoral act 2022, we are supposed to be very observant of the strengths and weaknesses of the law.

“This law is supposed to improve on the electoral processes and procedures in our country.

“So, it is for us to ensure that where there are weaknesses, we try to come up with measures, amendments to deal with the issues of weaknesses in the law.

“And, I’m sure it will come full circle when the 2023 elections are held.

“I have no doubt in my mind that all of us in the National Assembly, not only in the Senate, but in the House as well, feel that we must do everything and everything possible to make this electoral act serve the purpose for which it was passed and assented to.

“Therefore, I believe that we should work tirelessly to take note of those areas that we feel are not strong enough – that are weak points in the law – with a view to strengthening them before we finally take our exit in 2023.”

During his presentation, Abdullahi, who rose in accordance with Order 42 of the Senate Standing Orders, praised the Ninth Assembly for defying executive pressure to change section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

He praised the Supreme Court for defending the separation of powers principle contained in our 1999 constitution with clarity, decisiveness, and unanimous consent.

The Supreme Court’s decision, according to him, was a significant step toward real democratic governance that was based on the rule of law.

“In my view, the Supreme Court verdict should be celebrated for the following reasons.

”It restored and anchors the power of making laws to the National Assembly, and establishes a principle that once the President accents to a Bill he/she can’t approbate and reprobate, i.e. he/she cannot go to the courts to amend/reject the Bill in part or in whole”, he said.

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