Law News
Reps reject proposal to stagger elections

The House of Representatives on Wednesday turned down a motion seeking to stagger the dates of “future elections” yet to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Members had turned down the motion on the grounds that such a proposal would be meaningless without an amendment to the Electoral Act, 2010 and the 1999 Constitution.

The motion, which was moved by a member from Imo State, Mr. Eddie Mbadiwe, was withdrawn after members argued that neither the Electoral Act, nor the constitution made a provision for staggered elections.

Besides, a lawmaker from Taraba State, Mr. Ibrahim El-Sudi, told the House that the Electoral Act empowered INEC to determine how the dates of polls should be fixed.

He added that a requirement for staggered elections would not be achieved by a “mere motion” but must come through amending the Act.

“This motion seeks to smuggle in powers that are not in the Act. The way to do it is to amend the Act to make provisions for staggered elections,” El-Sudi, a lawyer, stated.

The House Minority Whip, Mr. Sampson Osagie, described the motion as a waste of parliamentary time, advising the House to drop it.

Mbadiwe had tried to defend the motion by telling members that the “excessive tension” the 2015 poll had generated was caused in part by the clustered arrangements of the polls.

“The election fever has to a large extent been caused by the clustering of all the series of elections within a short time frame.”

He suggested that elections to be conducted in the future should be staggered.

But, his argument failed to convince his colleagues, as they insisted that his proposal could not be achieved through a motion.

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