The National Assembly is proposing an amendment to Section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022 to prevent political parties from nominating candidates of the same religion as presidential and vice presidential candidates.
This is to avoid a repeat of controversy trailing the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the 2023 general elections,
Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, who dropped the hint during a media briefing on Sunday in Abuja, said the proposed amendment seeks to promote unity and religious harmony in the country.
He showed a draft copy of the proposed legislation titled: “A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2022 and for other matters connected thereto, 2022 to journalists during the briefing.
Adeyemi, who is the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District and sponsor of the bill, explained that Section 84 of the Electoral Act would be amended by inserting a new subsection that “No political party shall nominate candidates of the same religion as Presidential candidate and Vice Presidential candidate after this
According to the him,the controversy which the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the APC has generated in the polity, necessitated the move .
To prevent future occurrence, he stressed that a new sub-section is being proposed to Section 84 of the 2022 Electoral Act.
“Section 84 of the Principal Act will be amended by inserting a new subsection 3 which will state thus “No political party shall nominate candidates of the same religion as Presidential candidate and Vice Presidential candidate after the 2023 election.
“When this is accommodated, it will serve as a guide against any oversight such as this in the future as further occurrences will be deemed as silent policy which is capable of bringing down the fabrics of the nation,” he said.
Adeyemi added that wide range consultations on the need for the amendment have been made with the leadership of the Senate and other colleagues.
He, however, said that though apprehensions raised by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN over same faith Presidential ticket are genuine but the broad mindedness and pedigree of those in the race for Presidency for now would allay all fears being raised.
He pleaded that those in the race should be assessed based on their pedigrees and not their religious faith or even political party.
“Nigerians should look at the individual candidates contesting for the presidency in 2023 and not the political parties they belong to or religion they practice.”