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Senate Approves Independent Candidacy

The National Assembly has passed the bill allowing independent candidacy in elections in the country.

The Senate after passing the bil into law, directed the Clerk of National Assembly to transmit the Constitution alteration bill No. 58 to President Muhammadu Buhari for ascent.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the
amendment for the independent candidacy affects chairmanship candidates, House of Assembly candidates, National Assembly candidates and presidential candidates.

While presenting the bill to the Senate, the Deputy Senate President and Chairman, Ad hoc Committee on Review of the Constitution, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, in a motion said that Gombe State House of Assembly had approved the alteration of Nos 46 and 58 and forwarded to the National Assembly.

According to Omo-Agege, with approval by the Gombe State House of Assembly to the alteration Nos 46 and 58, which allows independent candidacy and inclusion of presiding officers into National Security Council, the constitutional requirement of section 9(2) has been met.

The alteration empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission to prescribe payment of administrative fees by the independent candidates.

According to the amendment, to contest election as an independent candidate in the presidential election, he or she must secure 20 per cent verified signature.

The amendment reads: “(cc) in the case of an independent candidate, the person has obtained the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each state of the Federation:

“Provided that-(a) a registered voter shall not sign for more than one independent candidate in respect of the same office; and

“(b) the signatures shall be verified by the relevant electoral body.”

For the governorship candidate, he or she must have obtained the verified signatures of at least 20 per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas in the state.

The amendment states: “(cc) in the case of an independent candidate, the person has obtained the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas in the State:

“Provided that – (a) a registered voter shall not sign for more than one independent candidate in respect of the same office; and

“(b) the signatures shall be verified by the relevant electoral body.”

The Senate also directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to transmit to the President Constitution alteration bill No 46, which seeks to include presiding officers of the National Assembly in the membership of National Security Council.

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