The Electoral Act 2022 introduced some novel changes that promise to make coming elections transparent and less problematic.
First, Section 9 of the Electoral Act 2022 mandates INEC to keep the Register of Voters at its National Headquarters and other locations in both electronic in its central database) and hardcopy.
Secondly, section 47 and 50 of the Electoral Act 2022 permits the use of electronic and tech devices like electronic voting machines, smart-card readers, etc., in the voters’ accreditation process for voters and general elections and the electronic transmission of election results, the procedure is to be determined by INEC. These provisions will mark a significant shift in transparency and meeting world standards compared to previous Nigeria’s general elections.
Also, section 51 of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that on election day, if the number of electoral votes cast at any polling unit exceeds the number of voters accredited at the polling unit on Election Day (overvoting), the Presiding officer is granted the right to cancel the election results in that polling unit. In the recently held Osun elections (August 2022) the victory of Ademola Adeleke as governor of the state was nullified. The tribunal held that Adeleke did not score the majority of lawful votes during the July 16 governorship election in the state because there was overvoting in 749 polling units across 10 LGAs of the state and that Adeleke’s victory should be nullified.
Furthermore, the tribunal, the court, and INEC possess the power to review the final decision of a returning officer on questions of a rejected ballot paper, unmarked ballot paper, return of candidate, and declaration of candidate scores. Additionally, INEC has the power to not only review but also return where the returning officer’s declaration is found to be involuntary or made contrary to the provisions of the law or the election guidelines.
Additionally, it is no longer news that Section 84 (12) of the electoral act makes political appointees ineligible as candidates or delegates in the electoral processes. This particular section has been under many criticisms. This was the reason why the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, resigned as a Minister before participating in the presidential primary.
In the past, the death of an electoral candidate created many problems leading to court cases. To curb this, the electoral act provided that If a candidate dies after polls, before the announcement of the final result, the election will be suspended (for not more than 21 days). If a candidate dies before the commencement of polls, the election shall be postponed and commenced within 14 days of the candidate’s death. Where it is a legislative position election, the election shall start afresh, and the political party (whose candidate died) shall if it intends to continue to participate in the elections, conduct a new primary within 14 days of the death of its candidate and submit the name of the new candidate INEC for replacement. For presidential, gubernatorial, and FCT area council elections, the running mate of the deceased candidate is to continue with the elections as the new candidate and nominate a new running mate. Section 34, Electoral Act 2021.
These provisions, if implemented, possess the means to give a smooth and transparent election in Nigeria. Follow me on khadfora.com for more.