Although, the new Electoral Act, ordinarily, is aimed to improve Nigeria’s electoral process, but many are still unsure of its relevance.
Below are of some very important provisions of the amended Electoral Act:
1 . Early Release of Election Funds to INEC:
Clause 3(3) of the bill stipulates the financial independence of the Commission. It provides that all funding required for a general election should be released not later than one year before the elections. Hence, helping the electoral body better prepare for the democratic event in advance.
2 . Deadline for Voter Registration:
Clause 9(6) 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.
3 . Corruptly Buying Voters:
Clause 127 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.
4 . Electronic transmission of results:
According to Clause 50 of the electoral bill, INEC has the authority to decide whether election results are sent electronically or manually. This reduces the risk of physical altering of election results by officials assigned to transmit the results. Also, Clause 47 of the electoral bill allows voters to be electronically accredited using Smart Card Readers or any other technical equipment determined by INEC.
5 . The right to review election results declared under duress:
Clause 65 of the electoral bill empowers INEC authority to evaluate declarations and returns made under dubious circumstances.
6 . Politically Neutrality of INEC Officials:
Section 8(5) 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.
7 . Over Voting Redefined:
This is when the total number of accredited voters in a polling unit exceeds the number of votes cast in that polling unit. Clause 51 stipulates that the “total number of accredited voters” will become a deciding factor in the election’s legality.
8 . Early conduct of Party Primaries and Submission of Candidate’s List:
Clause 29(1) of the 2022 electoral bill, each political party must submit its list of candidates to INEC, who must have arisen from lawful primaries not later than 180 days (6 months) before election day.
9 . Candidate Substitution in the Event of Death in an Election:
Clause 34 of the electoral bill 2022 allows political parties to hold primary elections to replace a candidate who dies after the polls have begun but before the final results are announced and a winner is declared. For legislative elections, the election will be re-run, and a bereaved political party can have a new primary within 14days to nominate a new candidate. For presidential and governorship elections, the deceased candidate’s running mate. Read Also : President Buhari Set To Sign The Electoral Bill On Friday