Senate Gives 14 Days to Replace Dead Candidate

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Saraki

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IN its continuation of the amendment of the Electoral Act, the Senate on Thursday, December 1, resolved that fresh primary election should be held within 14 days to replace a presidential or governorship candidate who dies before the announcement of the result of the election.

The resolution is expected to lay to rest the controversy over who succeeds a dead presidential or governorship candidate who dies before the announcement of the result of an election.

The Senate also adopted the proposal that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should suspend the conduct of a new election for 21 days when the death of a candidate is recorded after the commencement of an election and before the announcement of result.

The new provisions were apparently provoked by the sudden death of Abubakar Audu, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the November 21, 2015 governorship election in Kogi State. Audu had died before the announcement of the election result.

The development generated legal tussle which was contested from the high court to the Supreme Court as James Faleke, Audu’s running mate, insisted that the he was the right person to inherit the votes of the deceased principal.

Following the lacuna, a new Section 3 (a-c) has been inserted into the proposed Electoral Act which provides:

“If after the commencement of poll and before the announcement of the final result and declaration of a winner, a nominated candidate dies, (a ) the Commission shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, suspend the election for a period not exceeding 21 days; (b) the political party whose candidate died may, if it intends to continue to participate in the election, conduct a fresh direct primary within 14 days of the death of its candidate and submit a new candidate to the Commission to replace the dead candidate; and (c) subject to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection, the Commission shall continue with the election, announce the final result and declare a winner.”

The new bill also provides a legal backing for the use of manual voting in situations where card readers malfunction during election.

Although the manual option has always been adopted as an alternative to the malfunctioning of card readers, the new provision is meant to make the action legally valid.

—  Dec 1, 2016 @ 19:05 GMT

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