AN END OF PROGRAM COMMUNIQUE WITH RESPECT TO A ONE-DAY ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON ELECTORAL ACT AMENDMENT ORGANISED BY ORGANIZATION FOR COMMUNITY CIVIC ENGAGEMENT (OCCEN), ITS DEMOCRACY DRIVERS NETWORK (DDN), AND NORTH WEST CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM
Date: Tuesday, 9th March, 2020
Venue: Prince Hotel, Kano
At the end of the program participants have come up with the following resolutions:
- That section 3 of the Electoral Act 2010 be amended by inserting a new subsection to read “The electoral expenses due to the commission for any general elections shall be released to the Commission at least 12 months to the day appointed for the elections.”
- That section 71 of the of the Electoral Act 2010 be amended to read “The commission shall cause to be posted on its website or any other accessible platform the official election result which shall include the polling unit’s level results immediately after the official declaration of results
- That section 56 (2) of the Electoral Act 2020 does not guarantee the accessibility of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) to the polling unit. Therefore to include PWDs, section 56(2) should be amended by changing “may” to “shall” to mandate the commission to make adequate provisions for persons with disability in the voting process
- That to promote inclusion in political party primaries and reduce the influence of money in our elections, section 87 (2)(3)be amended by inserting a new subsection (2) to read: “A political party shall not impose nomination qualification or disqualification criteria, measures or conditions on any aspirant or candidate for any election in its constitution, guidelines, or rules for nomination of candidates for elections, except as prescribed under sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177, and 187 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
That for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for election, the total fees, charges, dues, and any payment howsoever named by a political party on aspirant shall not exceed:
- For a ward councillorship aspirant
- For an area council chairmanship aspirant
- Three hundred thousand naira (N300,000) for a house of assembly aspirant
- Five hundred thousand Naira (N500,000) for a House of Representatives aspirant
- One million Naira (1,000,000) for a senatorial aspirant
- Two million Naira (2,000,000) for a governorship aspirant
- Five million Naira (5,000,000) for a presidential aspirant
- That section 31(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 should be amended by inserting a new subsection (2) to read: “Every political party shall include women, youth, and persons living with disabilities in the list of candidates it seeks to sponsor in an election. Provided that not more than two-thirds of the candidates shall be the same gender.
- That section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 be amended to ensure that the list of delegates eligible to vote in all party primaries and conventions are made to up of not less than 50% of any gender
- That section 100 of the Electoral Act 2010 should amended to compel public media (broadcast and print) to grant marginalized groups, particularly women, youth and persons living with disability (PWDs) special discounted airtime/advert rates during election campaigns
- That section 104 of the Electoral Act 2010 should be amended to provide that the chairman and vice chairman are not the same gender, and the age qualification for the chairman and vice chairman shall be 25 years.
6. That section 49 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 be amended to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt technology in the accreditation of voters to verify, confirm or authenticate a voter. This will limit multiple voting or voting by proxy.
- That section 52(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 should be amended to adopt electronic voting in the conduct if election by replacing subsection (2) with “The commission may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts.
- That section (65) of the Electoral Act 2010 be amended to legitimize electronic collation and transmission of election results from the polling units by INEC.
7. That section 124 of the Electoral Act 2010 be amended to impose stiffer sanctions for bribery and vote buying. Anyone convicted for this offence shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N1, 000, 000 and 12 months imprisonment.
- That section 125(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 should be amended to read: “Any person acting contrary to the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500, 000 or to imprisonment of for a term of 12 months or both.
- That section 100(6) of the Electoral Act 2010 be retained to ensure penalty for violating the provisions of the section are restricted to the offending entity (the media house). It should not be extended to journalists, broadcasters, and other members of the media house.
8. That section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 should be amended to read: “Security personnel deployed for the purposes of the registration of voters or elections shall abide by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Electoral Duty. Any security personnel who violates the Codes of Conduct and Rules of Engagement on electoral duty commits and offence and shall be liable on conviction to a demotion in rank, dismissal, fines, or imprisonment.
9. That section 25 of the Electoral Act 2010 be amended by inserting a new subsection (3) to read: “In an election into any of the offices in subsections (1) and (2) above, the commission shall allow a person to apply for and cast a special vote prior to election day, if, on election day, that person cannot vote at a polling unit where they register as a voter because:
- Such a person being a member of an accredited observer group
- Such a person being an accredited media personnel
- Such a person being on duty as a member of the security agency on duty as it relates to an election; or
- Such a person being on duty as an official of the Election Management Body
At the end of the 1-day program organized by OCCEN participants have, in addition to providing alternative suggestions to the Citizens’ Top 10 Priorities on Electoral Act Amendment, raised the following issues for consideration:
- That relevant legal frameworks should be strengthened to ensure strict observance of internal party democracy across all political parties
- That the sales of Expression of Intent Form by political parties should be delegitimized to reduce cost of buying into elected positions
- That the electoral procedures leading to the cancellation of election results should be reviewed to remove any prospect of an ‘inconclusive election’
- That security mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that voters are not intimidated or harassed before, during, and after elections
- That an Electoral Violence Tribunal should be established and be mandated to try and convict all electoral offenders
- That the right of appointing the chairman and national commissioners of INEC should cease to be the prerogative of the presidency
- That the conduct of local government elections across the 36 states of the federation should be superintended by INEC instead of state owned Electoral Commissions
- That more Polling Units should be created across the 36 states of the federation in order to accommodate emerging settlements and ballooning population
- That there should be an active civil society engagement in drafting new INEC operational guidelines
- That a law should be made to ensure the presence of security personnel in all Polling Units in Nigeria
- Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN)
- Democracy Drivers Network (DDN)
- Northwest Civil Society Situation Room