The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has charged members of the Committee on Constitution and Electoral Reform to look into the possible amendments to the Constitution and Electoral Act , as well as other legal instruments concerning elections to facilitate the attainment of a more robust and generally acceptable electoral system.
According to a press release from the Office of the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and issued by Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, the Minister gave this charge while inaugurating members of the Committee on Constitution and Electoral Reform in his office last Tuesday in Abuja.
Isah disclosed that the AGF emphasized that the committee would leverage on their combined wealth of experience to review the electoral environment, relevant laws and also experiences from the recent elections conducted in Nigeria and make recommendations to strengthen and achieve the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.
He affirmed that it is obligatory on the part of the committee “to take a holistic and critical look of the recommendations of Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee.”
“The committee must consult far and wide, across all spectra of the society and in particular with the National Assembly and the Judiciary in order to make recommendations that would stand the test of times”.
“It is our expectation that the committee would turn in a report which dept and quality should resound for years to come and would facilitate the re-engineering of our electoral practice” he added.
The AGF also stressed that the committee is expected to come up with a draft executive memo for Federal Executive Council vetting, pledging to back it up with draft Executive Bill that may ultimately place our electoral system on a good pedestal enough to accommodate progressive reforms in future elections and electoral space.
The committee has the following terms of reference:
i. Review of the laws impacting elections in Nigeria, including relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution(as amended) and the Electoral Act 2012 (as amended) to assess their impact and adequacy for the administration of elections in Nigeria.
ii. Review and recommend the jurisdictional mandates of the proposed Electoral Tribunal.
iii. Review of recent judicial decisions on election petitions as they relate to:
a. Conflicting judgments.
b. Absence of consequential orders.
c. Delays in the issuance of Certified True Copies of Judgments.
d. Harmonise the Electoral Act in view of these judgments with a view to enhancing the electoral process.
iv. Review of the lessons learnt from the 2015 general elections and make recommendations for the improvement of the electoral system.
v. Identify and assess international best practices on elections and electoral systems relevant to Nigeria’s experience and identify best practices that would impact positively on the quality and credibility of the nation’s electoral process.
vi. Review the extent of implementation of the recommendations of the 2008 Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) headed by Justice Mohammad Uwais and advise on outstanding issues for implementation.
vii. Identify areas of the constitution impacting on the conduct of the elections that needed reform.
viii. Recommend the best approach to effective prosecution of electoral offences.
ix. Consolidate the recommendations for Electoral Reforms into a single Electoral Act Bill to achieve the repeal of the 2010 Electoral Act and re-enactment of a new Electoral Act for the country.
x. Prepare and recommend a draft bill for approval of the President for submission to the National Assembly for enactment.
xi. Coordinate with the National Assembly to achieve timely passage into law of the proposed bill.
xii. Make any recommendations deemed necessary for the realization of these terms of reference and
xiii. Submit a report of its recommendations for reforms and draft clauses and provisions to be proposed for legislative action within (10) weeks.
Full list of members of the committee, carefully selected based on their experience, maturity and resourcefulness and drawn from all walks of life include, Senator Ken Nnamani, Chairman, Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN, Mr. Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, Mrs Babalola O. O., Mr. Duruaku Chima, Mrs. Musa I. Maryam, Mr. H.A Tahir, Mr. Ike Udunni, Ibrahim S. O., Esther Uzoma, Mr. Eze Philip and Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim.
Others are Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi , Mr. Utum Eteng, Mr. Ejike Eze, Chief A.C. Ude, Mrs. E. Ifendu, Dr. Francis Abang Bullen, Mr. Anike Nwoga, Mrs. Cecilia Adams, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, Mr. C. Jude, Mr. Mohammed Bello Tukur, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku while Dr. Mamman Lawalill serve as Secretary,.
In his acceptance speech, former Senate President who is chairman of the Committee, Senator Ken Nnamani disclosed that his willingness to serve in the committee was driven by his conviction that Mr. President has the political will to implement its report.
Nnamani promised to work tirelessly with other members to produce a document that would amongst other things reduce the tendency of getting electoral victory through the courts other than the ballot boxes.
He therefore on behalf of other members expressed gratitude to President Buhari for counting them worthy to play a role in this regards.