The Nigerian Senate has approved an amendment to the constitution which will empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister any political party which fails to win any seat, be it at the Federal or State level.
At Wednesday’s plenary, lawmakers, looked at areas up for review in the 1999 constitution that deals with the Electoral Act.
Efforts by INEC to deregister political parties in the past were frustrated by litigations.
The amendment is seen as crucial for Nigeria as the 2015 general elections are months away. with the ammendment, any political party that fails to win any seat in the National Assembly or State House of Assembly would be deregistered.
Channels Television’s correspondent, Linda Akhigbe, reports that the exercise got off on a shaky note as some lawmakers wanted more time to study the report of the Constitutional Amendment Committee headed by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Senator Ekweremadu highlighted the areas up for amendment, as the federal lawmakers sought to amend the 1999 constitution that is said to contain more inputs from past military administrations.
When voting began, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of all the clauses up for amendment.
The senate would on Thursday vote on the controversial clause-nine, which deals with the procedure of drafting an entirely new constitution.
The need for a new constitution has been emphasised by some Nigerian lawyers, insisting that Nigerians needs a law that will have inputs from Nigerians and not one put together by military administration.
They believe that such constitution will make Nigerians more accountable and would bring needed change.
A National conference set up by President Goodluck Jonathan is ongoing and a legal backing is also needed to back up the recommendations of the conference. This could also come as an amendment to the constitution to accommodate the recommendations of the National Conference.
If the Senate amends the constitution to empower the President to make submission to the National Assembly, in form of a new constitution, the recommendations of the National Conference which would be submitted to the President could be forwarded to the lawmakers for deliberations and entrenchment into the constitution.