After several battles, Nigeria got a new electoral legal document, the Electoral Act 2022.
Many people, including some interest groups never wanted Nigeria to have a new electoral act that will guide the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
But with pressure from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the media and other interest groups, the 2022 electoral bill was finally signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on 25 February 2022.
The act now legalized some reforms into the electoral process introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from 2011 till date, the most talked about is the electronic voting and electronic transmission of election results.
The introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and election results analysis dashboard (ERAD) by the current INEC led by Prof Mahmoud Yakubu have been a game changer in the off-season elections including the gubernatorial elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, even though some CSOs have said that there is still room for improvement since these states are small when compared with what is coming in 2023.
Since laws are also meant to be improved upon to guide the realities of the society, the introduction of the Muslim -Muslim ticket by the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) in this dispensation has made one of it’s members, a ranking Senator Smart Adeyemi to take a smart move at amending the 2022 electoral act to guide future occurrence.
Adeyemi wants the Nigerian Senate to amend section 84 of the electoral act 2022 to ban same faith tickets in future presidential elections.
According to the bill cited which is being proposed, Adeyemi, a Christian Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, said after the 2023 general elections, the same faith ticket shouldn’t be preached as according to him it is capable of bringing down the fabrics of the nation.
Adeyemi was with his supporters at the National Assembly recently. They were singing Islamic and Christian songs.
Adeyemi said he is a Christian from the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) where the APC presidential candidate’s wife, Sen Remi Tinubu is a pastor.
The Smart Senator said his support for the Tinubu/Shettima ticket is not because they are members of his party APC. According to him, he supports the power shift to the South and that as someone who is close to Shettima and Tinubu, under their leadership, no tribe will be subdued.
Adeyemi said he support the concern raised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
He said that the association made some cogent observations which prompted him to sponsor a bill that will guide against such in the future.
“There have been oversights in key appointments in the past, which tends to keep the Christians at a disadvantage and this has caused apprehension amongst us,” Adeyemi said.
As a respected and vibrant lawmaker, Adeyemi, who said that the diversity of the nation should be balanced, said even his colleague, Sen Kashim Shettima never knew he would be running mate to Tinubu until announcement time.
“For the purposes of unity, we must balance up our diversity to a large extent. And it is in view of this that I am making some proposals. I have had discussions with the leadership of the Senate, my party leadership and a good number of Senators.
“The solution I hereby propose, in order not to find ourselves in a similar situation in the future, is that the electoral act be amended as follows:
“the amendment of Section 84 of the electoral act 2022 by inserting a new sub section (3) that no political party shall nominate candidates of the same religion as presidential candidates or vice-presidential candidates after this dispensation.
“I hereby propose the amendment of Section 84 of the electoral act 2022 by inserting a new sub section 3, When this is accommodated, it will serve as a guide against any oversight such as this in the future as further occurrences will be deemed as silent policies which will be capable of bringing down the fabrics of the nation,” Adeyemi said.
“We should have amended the Electoral Act to prevent candidates of the same religion. We made a major blunder. But I’m proposing a bill to prevent recurrence in future elections beyond 2023,” Adeyemi said while showing support for the Tinubu and Shettima candidacy.
Senators who spoke to LEADERSHIP said every lawmaker has the right to introduce an amendment into a law which must follow the normal legislative process.
Whether the smart move by Senator Smart Adeyemi will see the light of the day before the 9th National Assembly winds down, we will monitor the issues as they unfold.