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Reps reject electoral litigation bill

Published by Tribune on Thu, 23 Feb 2012

THREE attempts made by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, to save a bill that sought to set a time frame for dispensing with electoral litigation after elections failed, as members voted against the bill.The bill, entitled 'a bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, second alteration, Act 2010; and for related matters,' was proposed by the Deputy Minority Leader, Honourable Kawu Sumaila.Leading debate on the bill, Honourable Sumaila said 'this bill seeks to alter the provisions of sections 76, 116,132 and 178 of the constitution and sections 2,3,4 and 5 of the second alteration Act to further ensure that judgment of an election tribunal is heard and disposed of as set out in Section 285 of the Constitution and Section 9 of the second alteration Act, before the time winner of the elections is due to take oath of office.'Specifically, he sought to amend Section 76 (2,3 and 4) to extend the day which elected officers were to be sworn in after election from between 60 and 90 days to between 180 and 240 days, adding that if the amendment scaled through, it would engender good governance, 'in tandem with the legislative agenda of the seventh session of the House of Representatives.'Supporting the bill, the chairman of the House Committee on Inter/Intra Party Relations, Honourable Forte Dike, submitted that, said 'when somebody gets into office, he employs the resources of that office to perpetuate himself in power and tries to even influence the judicial process.'Opposing the bill, Honourable Mohammed Sadiq said 'if the Supreme Court has said 180 days, I want to submit that is the law. It said all cases pertaining to election matters should be disposed of within 180 days.'Drama, however, ensued, when Honourable Ihedioha, who presided over the session, had to put the question as to whether the bill should scale through or not thrice, with loud voice of members opposed to the bill dominating.
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