Senate has asked the Clerk to the National Assembly, CNA, Sani Tambuwal to transmit to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to a bill that seeks to provide for independent candidacy in presidential, governorship, national and state assemblies and local government councils elections.
According to the Senate yesterday, the CNA should transmit a constitution alteration bill No. 58 to President Buhari for assent in line with the provisions of the Authentication Act.
The resolution of the Senate yesterday was a sequel to a motion by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, APC,
The Upper Chamber also asked the Clerk to transmit to the President, constitution amendment bill No. 46, which seeks to include the presiding officers of the National Assembly in the membership of the National Security Council.
The two proposals were part of the constitutional alteration bills transmitted to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence last year but not part of the 35 that secured the required approval of 24 out of 36 state assemblies.
In his presentation, Omo- Agege informed his colleagues that Gombe State House of Assembly has approved the Constitution Alteration Bill Nos. 46 and 58 and forwarded its resolution to the National Assembly.
The Deputy Senate President who is the Chairman of the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review, said that with the approval of the Gombe assembly, the bills on the independent candidacy and inclusion of National Assembly presiding officers in the National Security Council members have met the provisions of Section 9(2) of the Constitution for passage.
After adopting the motion, the Senate directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to transmit the bills to the president for his assent.
The Senate had earlier transmitted 35 constitution alteration bills to the president for assent out of which 19 were rejected and 16 signed into law.
On May 2, 2023, the National Assembly approved a uniform retirement age for judicial officers after it met constitutional requirements.
The state assemblies that are yet to forward their resolutions on the constitution amendment bills are Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Plateau and Taraba.
Requirements for independent candidacy indicate the for any Nigerian national to contest the presidential election as an independent candidate, he or she must obtain the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each State of the Federation provided that a registered voter shall not sign for more than one independent candidate in respect of the same office.
For governorship, the independent candidate must obtain the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas of the state.
The bill also states that anyone willing to contest National Assembly elections, he or she must obtain the verified signatures of at least twenty per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas in the respective senatorial district or federal constituency.
The proposed legislation empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prescribe the payment of administrative fees by independent candidates for respective elections. it also mandates the electoral body to waive fifty per cent of the administrative fees for women candidates