The Senate has rejected a bill seeking an amendment to the Electoral Act 2022 to allow political parties to replace a validly elected state or federal lawmaker if he/she dies or resigns without the conduct of a fresh election.
The proposed amendment, sponsored by Senator Sunday Karimi (APC, Kogi), was rejected by senators when it was scheduled for a second reading during yesterday’s plenary.
Karimi had proposed an amendment to Section 34 of the Electoral Act by inserting a new section 43B.
Karimi, in his lead debate, argued that the votes cast during an election belonged to the political parties and they should be allowed to nominate a replacement should a vacancy occur in any legislative house.
But many senators, who contributed to the debate, spoke against the amendment. They said if a political party was allowed to nominate a replacement for a dead or resigned lawmaker without conducting a fresh election, such a replacement may be rejected by the constituents.
Senate President Godswill Akpabio, in his remark, also faulted the proposed amendment.
He said, “We have more than 20 political parties contesting in an election and if someone dies or resigns and we pick another person who was second in the primary, how are we sure that the person will be accepted by the electorate?
“The votes were for the person who died. It is the final election that sends someone to the parliament, not the primary.”
At this point, Akpabio asked the sponsor to withdraw the bill but Senator Karimi insisted that the bill should be allowed to pass second reading, saying that he has confidence that it will scale through.
Karimi’s insistence forced the Senate President to put the proposed amendment to a voice vote.
The bill was thereafter rejected by senators with a resounding nay.