DSIEC AMENDMENT LAW WILL GIVE 30 DAYS NOTICE FOR CONDUCT OF COUNCIL POLLS– DTHA
The Delta State Electoral Commission (DSIEC) law undergoing amendment procedures in the State House of Assembly, when passed, will provide for powers to give 30 days notice for the conduct of local government elections unlike the intended repeal law where the Commission had powers to give between 60 to 90 days for elections.
The amendment as proposed will also enable the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission to have a single law, as the elections clauses in the State Local Government Law and Electoral Act have been lifted and merged with the Delta State Electoral Commission Bill.
The Delta State Electoral Commission Bill which passed second reading Tuesday, on the floor of the State House of Assembly yesterday, also proposed a specified 14 days notice to be given by the Commission for the conduct of bye election which might arise as a result of death or other reasons while section 43 bars substitution of candidates once nomination is closed.
Opening debate on the merits and demerits of the bill, in a motion moved by the Majority Leader Honourable Tim Owhefere seconded by the Deputy Majority Leader Honourable Oboro Preyor, the Majority Leader Hon. Tim Owhefere said the business of lawmaking was dynamic noting that the House had passed the DSIEC law in 2012 but noticed some defects hence the need to amend the areas.
He argued that the amendments will enable the Commission to have powers to operate without hindrance in order to conduct free and fair elections.
The Majority Leader said Section Two of the bill clearly stated the appointment of Chairman and members of the electoral Commission arguing that the commission will now have a Chairman and two members from each of the three senatorial districts .
He noted that unlike in the repealed law where the Commission had a Chairman and three members each from the three senatorial districts while the Secretary must be a person not below the rank of an Assistant Director.
Honourable Owhefere told the House that with the proposed amendments the state would have a perfect law to guide the conduct of local government elections.
Arguing in support of the bill,the Member representing Ughelli North Two Constituency Honourable Samuel Mariere said with the proposed amendments the Commission would now have powers to give thirty days notice for the conduct of local government elections unlike in the repealed law where the Commission had powers to give between sixty to ninety days for elections.
He said the amendment would enable DSIEC have a single law as the areas of elections in the State Local Government Law and Electoral Act have been lifted and merged with the Delta State Electoral Commission Bill.
For his part the Member representing Ika North East Constituency Honourable Emeka Elekeokwuri said with the amendment a candidate contesting for a position in the local government council must be sponsored by a political party while the bill also specified twenty one years of age as the minimum requirement to contest as Councillor.
He said the bill also specified fourteen days notice to be given by the Commission for the conduct of bye election which might arise as a result of death or other reasons while section forty three stated that once nomination is closed there can be substitution of candidates.
Honourable Elekeokwuri noted that in the proposed law any candidate that engaged in thuggery will liable to three years imprisonment if found guilty or an option of fine of one million naira while any member of a secret cult will be disqualified to contest .
The Chief Whip and Member representing Oshimili North Constituency Honourable Pat Ajudua said the amendment of the Delta State Electoral Commission Bill will suit modern day realities in the electoral system
The Speaker Honourable Sheriff Oborevwori after the debate which was unanimous referred the bill to the House Committees Local Government and Rules, Business,Legal and Judiciary and is expected to report back to the House on Thursday this week.
Also at plenary the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, reassigned twenty one bills which had been under adhoc committees to the various new standing committees of the House..