The Bill seeking the amendment of Sections 136 and 181 of the 1999 constitution on Tuesday passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.
According to Hon. Asabe Bashir (Borno, APC) who sponsored the bill, the amendment intends to close the lacuna in the constitution with regards to the death of a candidate before the conclusion of an election.
It would be recalled that the death of Abubakar Audu, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 polls in Kogi State brought the process to an abrupt end.
Bashir said that Bill will ensure that in such circumstance, the running mate of the deceased will be constitutionally empowered to complete the process.
“Regrettably, the situation where a candidate dies during election was not envisaged in the constitution or the electoral act and the lacuna was obvious during the Kogi governorship polls in 2015.
“Having seen this gap, it is necessary to fill it and empower the running mate of a presidential candidate and governorship candidate to complete the race.
“There is no need to cancel an ongoing election and there is no need to go through a fresh election,’’ the lawmaker said.
She further pointed out that the lacuna as experienced in Kogi resulted to more expenses on INEC, which had to conduct a fresh election as the only option.
The House unanimously adopted that the Bill be read the second time.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Yusuff Lasun referred the Bill to Special Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution.
Remember that according to Section 181(2) of the 1999 Constitution, where persons duly elected as Governor and Deputy Governor of a state die or are for any reason unable to assume office before the inauguration of the House of Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shall immediately conduct an election for a Governor and Deputy Governor of the State.