Presidential election is to come last in the sequence of general elections in the country according to an amendment to the Electoral Act by the House of Representatives. National Assembly elections would now come first in the sequence, to be followed by governorship and state assembly elections. These are contained in several amendments done to the Electoral Act, 2010 by the House yesterday.
Based on the current provisions, Presidential and National Assembly elections are held first on the same day, while those of governors and members of the state houses of assembly were held later also on the same day. During the adoption of the report of its committee on electoral matters and political parties’ affairs, the House also raised campaign fund for presidential candidates from N1 billion contained in the Act to N5bn and that of a governor from N200 million to N1bn. Another amendment to Section 36 will allow a running mate to a candidate that dies before the conclusion of an election to inherit votes of the dead candidate.
A new Section 36 (3) states that: “if during the commencement of the poll but before the conclusion of the elections for the office of the president or governor of a state, one of the nominated candidates of a political party dies, the commission shall allow the running mate, that is the party’s vice presidential candidate or deputy gubernatorial candidate to continue and conclude the poll and should he score the majority of the votes cast in accordance with the constitution, be declared the winner of the said election” Also, the House amended Section 35 and provided that if a candidate dies before an election, they would be replaced by the next contestant with the highest votes.