Nigeria: Reps Move to Bar Ex-Electoral Officers From Contesting Election

The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill to amend the Electoral Act, 2010 to stop retired electoral officers from partisan politics or seeking elective office immediately after retirement.

The bill specifically seeks to prohibit them from engaging in partisan politics after their relief of duties, retirement or resignation until after five years.

Presenting the bill, Olawale Raji (APC, Lagos), said the amendment became necessary to address the "lacuna" in the existing laws.

He disclosed that officers like the national electoral commissioners and resident electoral commissioners have a lot of information at their disposal as electoral staff on how elections are planned and conducted.

He recalled that in August 2019 the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Cross River State, Dr. Frankland Briyal, resigned his appointment in the state headquarters of INEC in Calabar to contest in the governorship race in Bayelsa State.

He said the action did not escape criticism as it caused discomfort within the political party and created a national embarrassment for the electoral system.

"It has become imperative to restrict them from taking part in aspiring for elective positions in government for a period of at least five years of their disengagement from the commission.

"By isolating these officers from engaging in active politics, this amendment will prevent any possible abuse of office or using a position once occupied to gain undue advantage during an election," he said.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila referred the bill to the House Committee on Electoral Matters for further legislative action.

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