The Federal Government has formally inaugurated the 24-man committee headed by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, to review the 2012 Electoral Act.
During the ceremony at his office, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the setting up of the committee was based on one of the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari upon his inauguration, where he promised to deepen the country’s commitment to democracy and entrench the culture of an enduring electoral system.
According to Malami, Nigeria’s recent history of electoral practice and the challenges of managing elections require far-reaching measures to build consensus among stakeholders in order to institutionalise critical reforms.
He charged the members to seek possible amendments that would facilitate a generally acceptable electoral system in the country.
“It is my expectation that this committee will look into the possible amendments to the Constitution and the electoral act, as well as other legal instruments concerning elections to facilitate the attainment of a more robust and generally acceptable electoral system,” said Malami.
He added: “I reiterate that this is an electoral reform committee whose responsibility is not expected to end with mere recommendations, but expected by way of consolidation, to come up with a draft executive memo that will be submitted to the Federal Executive Council for approval, and support the same with draft executive bills meant to place our electoral system on a pedestal good enough to accommodate progressive reforms.”
Responding, panel Chairman Ken Nnamani said: “If we get our laws correct and appropriate, there will be a reduction in violence, particularly with regard to our elections.”
He added: “We understand the task ahead because what makes the difference between free and fair elections has something to do with the Electoral Act itself.”
The terms of reference of the committee include review of the laws impacting elections in Nigeria, such as the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act (as amended).
They include a review of recent judicial decisions on election petitions as they relate to conflicting judgments, absence of consequential orders, delay in the issuance of Certified True Copies of judgements as well as harmonization of the electoral act with a view to enhancing the electoral process.
The committee is expected to submit a report of its recommendations for reforms and draft clauses and provisions to be proposed for legislative action within 10 weeks.