Senate Passes Amendment To Electoral Act

Senate Passes Amendment To Electoral Act
…Approves Electronic Voting
…Says Collated Results to be Electronically Transmitted

The Senate Thursday passed amendments to the  Electoral Act 2010, approving the use of electronic voting in future elections.
It also approved that election results should be electronically transmitted to collation centers.

The passage of bill followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and for other related matters (SB 231 and SB 234).

Major highlights of the new bill include provision for the use of electronic voting by INEC during future elections, use of Card Reader and also gives INEC power to modify the voting process if there is a challenge.

The Senate also approved a provision to enable INEC transmit the result of elections electronically in an encrypted and secured manner to prevent hacking.

To address the incident that happened in Kogi State, during last gubernatorial election, the amended Electoral Act provides that if a candidate dies before results of elections are declared, the results will not only remain valid but belongs to the political party that lost its candidate.

It also added that in such a scenario, the INEC should suspend the elections for 21 days during which period the affected political party will conduct fresh primaries to choose a new candidate.

The Bill also gives political parties power to adopt direct or indirect primaries in choosing their flag bearers, while qualification of disqualification of candidates for elections will be solely based on the Constitution.

In his comments after the adoption of the report by the Red Chamber, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, thanked his colleagues for a job well done and expressed optimism that the Bill would further improve the nation’s electoral system and also contribute to good governance.

Saraki said: “Distinguished colleagues, let me thank all of you for this job well done. I want to particularly thank the members of the Committee on INEC and particularly the former chairman of the Committee, Abubakar Kyari,  Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and all the members of the committee who have worked very hard to ensure the passage of this very important bill which addresses our electoral process and goes on to strengthen our democracy.

“We have touched on new areas which I believe will improve the credibility of our elections and by so doing, definitely improve our democracy and good governance.

“Most importantly, I think, are some of the new sections we have added, in the area of technology, the smart card reader, and particularly the area of collation which has been an area of great concern.

“Collation of results after the polling units and some of the additions we put on the electronic way by which the compilation of results can be done, I think will go a long way to reduce some of the irregularities we have seen before.

“This is a great work you have been able to put together today and I want to commend everybody. I am also happy that we have passed the amendments very early. My concern has always been that if we don’t do it now, it will get more difficult as we get blowed to the 2019 elections.

“We hope that with this Bill that we have passed, very soon, we will sit together with the House of Representatives to be able to get the copy to the President for assent.

“I think when signed into law, it will enable INEC to have something to work early enough. I think what we have done today will really put our electoral law among the best that we have and it will go a long way in improving our electoral process,” he said.

END

Signed:

Sanni Onogu
Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President

Today, the Senate held a highly productive plenary session.

Today, the Senate held a highly productive plenary session.

Earlier in the day, we started out with a Ministerial Briefing by the Minister of Finance on the Monetary/

Fiscal Policies being adopted to salvage the current economic situation in the country.

Later on in the session, we passed the final clause-by-claus

e reading of the Repeal and Re-enactment of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act of 1955, which is aimed at opening up Nigeria’s railway sector to private sector participation in order to make the service more affordable, effective and accessible to every single Nigerian.

 

Finally, in an effort to reflect the decisions reached in Executive Sessions of the 8th Senate, today I announced a reshuffling of the leadership of some key Senate Committees.

 

The following are the changes in Committee Chairmanships announced earlier today:

 

1. Senator Hope Uzodinma, Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs

 

2. Senator Adamu Aliero, Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation

 

3.Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment

 

4. Senator Kabiru Marafa, Chairman, Senate Committee on Downstream Petroleum

 

5.Senator Jibrin Barau, Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND

 

6. Senator Binta Marsi Garba, Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs

 

7. Senator Joshua Dariye, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement

 

8.Senator James Manager, Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals

 

9. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power

 

10. Senator Hunkuyi Suleiman, Chairman, Senate Committee on National Identity

 

11. Senator Suleiman Adokwe, Chairman, Senate Committee on National Orientation and Information

 

12. Senator Jide Omoworare, Chairman, Senate Committee on Legislative Compliance

 

13. Senator Baba Kaka Garbai, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business

 

14. Senator Tijani Kaura, Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Character

 

15. Senator Ahmed Ogembe, Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport

 

16. Senator Omo Agege, Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport

 

17. Senator Philip Aduda, Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Downstream Petroleum

Promise Kept by Senate

Promise Kept by Senate

Sp with a disabled man

 

Saraki Keeps Promise as Senate Passes Law to Curb Abuse Against People with Disabilities

The Senate today (Wednesday, July 13th, 2016) passed for its third and final reading the ‘Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill (2016) (SB 22).’

Taking to his social media pages to comment on the development, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki stated that the bill is highly important as it seeks to curb the abuse in all forms of Nigerians with disabilities.

The Senate President also stated that the bill would promote the respect of the rights of all Nigerians with disabilities.

“Many of you will remember that earlier this year, when I met with the leaders of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities,” Saraki said, “I promised that the Senate would work on examining ways to strengthen our laws for people with disabilities.”

Saraki, who is a medical doctor by profession, emphasised that with the Senate’s passage of the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill, he was hopeful that the National Assembly would finally break the jinx by getting the bill passed in both Houses and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Many will recall that similar bills seeking to protect the rights of people with disabilities failed to get signed into law during the 6 (2007 to 2011) and 7th (2011 to 2015) Assemblies.

My Thoughts on the North East Development Commission Bill

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, speaks on the No…

Yesterday, the Senate held a public hearing on the Bill to establish a North East Development Commission to help in the rehabilitation of areas affected by Boko Haram. These are my thoughts on this bill.

Posted by Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Saraki Calls for Legislation to Address Marternal Mortality on International Day of the Midwife

Saraki Calls for Legislation to Address Marternal Mortality on International Day of the Midwife

As the Inaugural Global Midwifery Conference in Nigeria rounds off in Abuja, in commemoration of the International Day of the Midwife, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has congratulated midwives across the nation for their contributions towards the healthcare of Nigerian women and newborns.

The Senate President, who is a medical doctor by profession, stated that over the years, midwives have helped to improve the maternal healthcare options available to Nigerian women.

Saraki further stated “According to data available from UNICEF, the deaths of newborn babies in Nigeria represents a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under-five.”

In this regard, as the event hosted by the National Association of Nigerian Nurses hand Midwives (NANNM), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Wellbeing Foundation Africa rounds off, Saraki stated that the Senate and the 8th National Assembly would work out ways to partner with organisations that help to promote the life-saving work of midwives across the nation.

“As we mark International Day of the Midwife 2016,” Saraki said, “The 8th Assembly will partner with organisations and other stakeholders to provide legislation that will help to strengthen the efforts of midwives in Nigeria, to enable them provide better support for expecting mothers.”

According to UNICEF, a Nigerian woman’s chances of dying from pregnancy and childbirth is 1 in 13, and presently, only about 20 per cent of health facilities offer emergency obstetric care and only 35 per cent of deliveries are attended by skilled birth attendants.

Bamikole Omishore

Special Assistant on New Media to President of the Senate

Electricity Tariff Hike: NASS Will Act In The Interest Of The Masses- Bukola Saraki

Electricity Tariff Hike: NASS Will Act In The Interest Of The Masses- Bukola Saraki

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Monday pledged that the National Assembly would act to ensure that the electricity tariff hike is resolved in the interest of the people.

Addressing the rally comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other electricity consumers who besieged the National Assembly Complex, Abuja to protest the recent increment in electricity charges across the country, Saraki reiterated the commitment of the 8th National Assembly to collaborate with the executive arm of government in entrenching policies that are people-friendly.

He said that the Senate believes in the struggle to ensure that the right thing is done and therefore, it will do everything within the shortest possible time to resolve the impasse between the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) and electricity consumers in order to avert any further unrest.

Saraki while addressing the labour leaders and members of the civil society organizations, said: “I welcome you to this place because it belongs to you. We are only tenants for four years. We are here to serve the Nigerian people. I want to assure you that the 8th National Assembly is for the people.

“Even before now, we have observed that this issue of tariff increase and some of the policies were not palatable. We have summoned the NERC even before now. We are with you, we will stand with you and ensure that no policy will in any way exist that is not palatable to the Nigerian people.

“Yes, we all want power, yes, we want improvement, but not at the detriment of the masses. There must be consultations because we are here at your instance. You cannot make laws and policies without the people.

“I want to assure you this afternoon that the 8th National Assembly will always stand for what will ensure the survival of the masses. We are not blind, we are not deaf, we can see the problem. Give us time and we will engage with the Executive and ensure that the right thing is done.

“We will do the right thing and consult with you and we will agree where we have to agree and where we don’t agree, we will find the best solution. At the end of the day, whatever we do must be in the interest of the people of Nigeria,” he said.

In their separate remarks, the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and his TUC counterpart, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, argued that the Labour Unions resorted to protest having exhausted other legitimate dispute resolution framework and dialogue to stop the NERC and Discos from increasing the electricity tariff.

The labour leaders however urged the National Assembly to rescue the Nigerian consumers from what they described as “extortion and over-billing of consumers” who are not metered in accordance with the signed privatization Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides that all electricity consumers be metered.
END

Signed:

Sanni Onogu
Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President

Saraki tasks ECOWAS Parliament on war against terrorism

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursday called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, to join hands with Nigeria and the International Community in the ongoing war to wipe out terrorism from the region.

Saraki who stated this in his goodwill message at the inaugural session of the 4th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, said unless the region acts in unison to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, it would be difficult to restore full security to the region.

Saraki who commended past efforts of the parliament aimed at enhancing the socio-economic development of member nations, said: “Our sub-region has in recent times fallen victim to terror and the activities of organized crime. The region has lost much in social and economic terms.

“Unless we act together, the objective of eliminating terrorism from our soil will be harder to achieve. The ECOWAS Parliament provides us a unique platform to advance this objective.

“Therefore, it has a major role to play in addressing the menace of terrorism both as a coordinator of regional effort and an initiator of the right legal framework that can lead to a cohesive regional effort.

“I urge the ECOWAS Parliament to join hands with us in Nigeria and the international community to ensure that we eliminate terrorism from the region,” he said.

The Senate President said though the parliament is just 16 years old, it has achieved significant strides in “nurturing the vision of our founding fathers, cementing our collective aspirations and providing us a platform for the integration process, notwithstanding the obvious limitations.

“The experiment we had with a sub-regional Parliament in West Africa, as well as the significant achievements recorded especially in the area of Parliamentary diplomacy in the Mano River area, the Ivorian conflict and the Guinea Bissau crises are all testimonies of the critical moderating role that the parliament is capable of providing,” he said.

He however told the ECOWAS Parliamentarians that the Nigerian National Assembly believes that a Parliament should embody the vision of a secure and prosperous people and necessarily make laws and conduct oversight functions to ensure that such vision is ultimately secured.

He said while the National Assembly is ready to work with the parliament to achieve its objective, it needs the sincerity of purpose and full commitment to the vision of the ECOWAS Parliament.

#SPSpeaks – Senate Plenary of Wednesday 12th August 2015

Confirmation of Mr. President’s nomination for INEC REC from Jigawa State, Mr. Abdulahi Kaugama

“The Senate, in the committee of the whole, considered the request of Mr. President, C-in-C, for the confirmation of the appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission. The nominee answered questions from Distinguished Senators on electoral matters and a number of issues; thereafter, the committee approved the nomination of Abdulahi Adamu Kaugama as a Resident Electoral Commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission”.

Senate adjourned.

Legislative Comments for Tuesday 11th Aug 2015

Today, the Senate discussed a Motion on the Unfair Trade Practices of Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in Nigeria. The motion was brought to the floor by Senator Sam Egwu (Ebonyi North).

As electricity generation and distribution is a crucial development determinant, Nigerians from allover the country have high expectations in this regard.

Despite privatization of the GENCOs and DISCOs, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that Nigerians enjoy stable electricity. In this regard, the Senate under my leadership will not relent until we see and effect change in the power industry.

The debate continues tomorrow, with the introduction of another motion bordering on this issue.

Senate Begins Move To Reduce It’s Allowance ‪#‎OPENNASS

In response to the recent outcry from Nigerians against perceived huge allowances being paid to federal legislators, the Senate yesterday began moves to reduce its earnings by constituting a committee to draw a roadmap for the review.

The move, which is geared towards ensuring accountability in the Senate, is the first of its kind since 1999.

It was also in fulfillment of the promise made by Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, last week after a meeting with the leadership of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

The nine-man committee is expected to determine if the deduction earlier done is adequate or not; determine whether the mode of disbursement of office running cost is appropriate; determine whether National Assembly detailed budget should be made public; liaise with secretary of finance and accounts to determine appropriate salary and allowances for members as well as consider the standard running cost and any other related issue.

The committee is chaired by Senate Leader, Ali Ndume. Other members of the committee are: Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central), Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara North), Sunny Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South), James Manager (Delta South), Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East), Dino Melaye (Kogi West and Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East).

While inaugurating the committee on Thursday, Saraki said agitation for the reduction of cost of governance particularly the earnings of lawmakers in Nigeria has remained a sensitive matter which according to him, calls for accountability and transparency in all spheres of legislation.

He tasked the committee to carry out thorough fiscal examination on Senate’s finances with a view to evolving a cost effective regime.

He said: “The subject of reduction in cost of governance has been a sensitive matter on the front burner of national issues in the polity especially with regards to the legislature. While much of this could be due to an underlining ambiguity in the monthly salaries of legislators and their allowances, there still persists the need to project clarity, accountability and transparency in all legislative matters and legislators’ welfare.

“The eighth Senate under our watch recognises the concerns raised by Nigerians about the cost of running office most especially with the economic challenges facing our nation.

“The Senate will be more transparent regarding all public funds spent for the purpose of paying salaries and allowances of legislators and ensure that distinction is sufficiently made between what a legislator actually earns and what is spent to run and implement legislative business and committee activities.

“The watchword in our financial issues will be fiscal conservatism.

“It is therefore on this arm that the committee is mandated to carry out thorough fiscal examination on the Senate finances with the aim of coming up with the best cost-effective regime in the eighth Senate.”

In the same vein, Saraki inaugurated an 18-man committee saddled with the responsibility of drawing up a legislative agenda for the Senate.

The committee is chaired by James Manager. Members of the committee include Babajide Omoworare (Osun East); Duro Faseyi (Ekiti North), Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo Central), Sonni Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South); Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central); Hope Uzodimma (Imo West) and Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East), George Sekibo, John Enoh.

Others are Mohammed Hassan, Ali Ndume (Borno South); Binta Garba (Adamawa North), Kabiru Gaya (Kano South); Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central); Bala Na’Allah (Kebbi South), Mohammed Yari; David Umaru (Niger East) and Joshua Dariye (Plateau Central).

The Senate had opted to draw an agenda for itself with a view to setting up a standard with which its performance can be measured by the public.

While inaugurating the committee, Saraki said the agenda to be drawn is expected to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Senate; build a legislative autonomy and strengthening the committee system.

He added that the agenda would also enhance oversight functions; ensure extensive representation; reach out to stakeholders and encourage civil society involvement.

The Senate president also said the agenda would put machinery in place to guarantee implementation, monitoring and evaluation, reduction of running cost as well as effective legislative support system.