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A bill seeking to amend the Electoral Act to prohibit electoral officers from engaging in partisan politics within five (5)years of retirement, resignation has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
The Principal Act is hereby amended by creating new Sub-section 2 in Section 146 as follows:
(2) Notwithstanding (1) above, and anything to the contrary in any enactment or law, a person who holds or has held office as a member of the Commission appointed by the President by virtue of the 3rd Schedule, Part 1 (F) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Resident Electoral Commissioner appointed under the Act shall not, until after a period of five years immediately after retirement, resignation or official relief of duties, be qualified for any elective office in Nigeria.”
Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended provides that every Nigerian is free to belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his/her interest.”
However, by virtue of Section 45 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it provides that nothing in Section 40 of the Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, with respect to the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health, or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons. “
The lawmakers in passing the bill for public hearing. noted that the amendment of the Electoral Act will go a long way to checkmate the above loophole in the principal act, which will in turn strengthen Nigeria’s democratic culture.