Electoral Act: Gaya’s Committee’s Report Not Final – Senate President

*Asks Nigerians To Talk To Their Lawmakers

Ahead of the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has allayed the fears over the alleged insertion of contentious clauses in the Committee final draft.

There has been a media report of removal of clauses for electronic transmission of results in the final draft of the report to be submitted by its Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya.

Speaking on Monday at the swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Commissioner and Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission, Senator Lawan said neither the leadership of both chambers of National Assembly nor members of the Committee on INEC would foist their recommendations on their colleagues in both chambers.

He further admonished Nigerians to task their representatives in the National Assembly to take more than passing interest in the clause by clause deliberations of the Committee’s report.

He said, “The National Assembly is embarking on the amendment of the Electoral Act, probably by next week or within the next two weeks.

“It is very important that those who feel very strongly about any amendment that they think should be effected in the Electoral Act should contact or talk to their members of the House of Representatives as well as Distinguished Senators.

“I want to state categorically here that presiding officers are not the ones to determine what is carried or what is not.

“So, it is very important that in the same way, the Public Complaints Commission is utilized properly by the general public.”

Addressing the newly sworn-in Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission, the President of the Senate advised them to be fair, just and transparent in the discharge of their functions.

“It is principally an organ of government set up to redress complaints lodged by aggrieved citizens or residents of Nigeria against administrative injustice.”

The Senate President assured the Commission of the support of the National Assembly in the area of funding and amending the Public Complaints Commission Act 1975, which has not been amended in the last forty-five years since its enactment.

“We are not unaware of some challenges confronting the Commission, the National Assembly is making efforts to overcoming the challenges facing the Commission, and that is largely funding.

“The Ombudsman institution is acclaimed worldwide as the machinery for the control of administrative excesses and providing the due reliefs and redress to citizens and foreigners residing in Nigeria.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, urged members of the said the Public Complaints Commission to restrict themselves to the dictates and statutory mandates of the Commission.

“It is clear that the Public Complaints Commission is a product of necessity due to Human Rights abuses, societal victimization, high-handedness and other forms of practices of maladministration.

“Such ugly practices had long been noticed in Nigeria of all places, and promoted the birth of the Commission in 1975, and its metamorphosis into a statutory vehicle in 2004.”

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