All over the world, National Electoral Bills are often the subject of debate and disagreement until ultimately majority of the lawmakers say yes to the bill and subsequently pass it to the President to append his signature. The President on the other hand takes a look before appending his signature or put it in abeyance. The electoral system has a direct impact upon who shall govern the country- It is this process that brings about the elected representative of the people who govern a particular country that practice democracy.
One of the above scenarios was the case when our lawmakers passed the Electoral Amendment Bill for the fourth time to President Mohammadu Buhari but he refused to sign on the allegations of various reasons. One that it was too close to the 2019 general elections to change the rules of the game- it could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process. Another reason why the president declined assent has to do with the ‘’ electronic transmissions of results’’ clause. According to President Buhari Campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo, he said on Channels TV that, the electronic transmissions of results across Nigeria won’t work at the moment because most parts of the country … especially rural areas …still have no access to the internet. A good question is, how well does the existing Electoral Bill meets Nigerian’s needs? What we have prevalent in our elections are still bribery and or vote trading, voter intimidation, coercion, threats, ballot box snatching, impersonation and vandalism. In remote cases, some voters cast votes in the name of a dead person or someone who is non existence. So sad! It’s obvious that a free, fair and credible election cannot be successfully implemented in an awkward electoral process.
The main purpose of Electoral Act in any nation is for the general conduct of election, it helps to strengthen internal democracy, reduce cost of politics and broaden political participation. As is it now, the introduction of the card reader where a candidate is accredited to vote is yet to be part of our electoral act and as such, the failure of the card reader machine or failure to use it cannot invalidate the election. This Act according to our lawmakers seeks to fulfill this purpose and much more.
Let’s look at the highlight of the Electoral Act: