AGF inaugurates committee on constitution, electoral reform

ABUJA (AGF’s Office’ Report)- In line with the present administration’s commitment to deepen the country’s democracy and entrench the culture of an enduring electoral system, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, has recently inaugurated a Committee on Constitution and Electoral Reform, headed by Senator Ken Nnamani, GCON.

The Committee which was inaugurated on Tuesday October 4, 2016, was charged 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.

Malami explained that the Committee became necessary to undertake a constitutional and electoral reconstruct in order to address all critical challenges that confront the country’s electoral process. “This, without doubt will enthrone more transparency and help to build people’s confidence in the democratic process. It is this vision that we want to translate into action by the constitution of this Committee”.

He emphasized on the need for members of the Committee to 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.

According to him, 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 depth and quality should resound for years to come and would facilitate the re-engineering of our electoral practice,” he added.

The AGF charged the Committee 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 the electoral system on a good pedestal enough to accommodate progressive reforms in future elections and electoral space.

While giving his acceptance speech, the former Senate President and Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ken Nnamani, said that his willingness to serve in the Committee was driven by his conviction that Mr. President has the political will to implement the report of the Committee. He 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 Ballot Boxes.

He, however, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of other members for counting them worthy to play a role in this regards.

The members of the Committee include:
Senator Ken Nnamani GCON, Chairman, Dr .Mamman Lawal Secretary.Others are: Mr. Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, Mrs .Babalola O. O., Mr. Duruaku Chima, Mrs. Musa I Maryam, Mr. H. A Tahir, mni , Mr. Ike Udunni , Ibrahim S. O. ,Esther Uzoma , Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN , Mr Eze Philip , Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim . Also: Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Barr. Utum Eteng , Mr. Ejike Eze , Mr. Ude A. C. , Mrs. E. Ifendu, Dr.Francis Abang Bullen , Mr. Anike Nwoga , Mrs. Cecilia Adams , Barr. Clement Nwankwo, Mr. Jude C., Barristers Mohammed Bello Tukur and Juliet Ibekaku.

Members were carefully selected based on their experience, maturity and resourcefulness, with 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 ele4ctoral 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 judgment 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.