Electoral Bill: Gbajabiamila names conference committee dominated by APC

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has constituted the conference committee on the Electoral Amendment Bill.

The seven-member committee announced on Tuesday is dominated by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

While five members were drawn from the APC, the remaining two are members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Akeem Adeyemi (APC, Oyo) is the chairman of the committee.

Other members are: James Faleke (APC, Lagos), Blessing Onuh (APC, Benue), Aisha Dukku (APC, Gombe), and Ahmad Kalambaina (APC, Sokoto).

Chris Azubogu (PDP, Anambra) and Unyime Idem (PDP, Akwa Ibom) are also members of the committee.

The panel is to meet with its Senate counterpart to harmonise the differences in the versions passed by two chambers in July before proceeding on recess.

The Senate’s version was passed on 15 July, while the House version was passed on 16 July.

The Senate had last week announced the composition of its committee.

The members are Kabiru Gaya (North-west), Ajibola Basiru (South-west) and Danjuma Goje (North-east).

Others are Uche Ekwunife (South-east), Sani Musa (North-central) and Matthew Urhoghide (South-south).

The Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, will lead the panel.

Grey areas to resolve

One of the contentious issues in the bill is clause 52(3) of the bill.

The Senate version reads: “the commission may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.”

The version passed by the House reads as follows: “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”

The House version was passed amidst rancour, tension and walkout by some members of the PDP.

The seven-member committee set up by the Senate is dominated by senators who voted to subject the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Assembly before using electronic transmission of results.

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