A former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, will head a 24-member committee, set up by the Federal Government to review existing electoral law and past reports of proposed electoral reforms, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice said on Sunday.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, indicated that the minister would inaugurate the committee on Tuesday.
The statement listed some members of the committee to include Dr. Mamman Lawal of Bayero University, Kano (Secretary); Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), Dr. Clement Nwankwo, Chief A. C. Ude and the Director, Legal Drafting, Federal Ministry of Justice, amongst others.The PUNCH had reported on September 5, 2016, that the Federal Government was planning to constitute the committee expected to make recommendations for the amendment to electoral law and relevant parts of the constitution.
The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government, through the AGF’s office, expected the committee to make recommendations that would strengthen and achieve the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria.
The committee was initially proposed to be made up of 20 members, but it was learnt on Sunday that the number was increased to 24 at the last minute.
Isah stated on Sunday that “the committee will be inaugurated on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, at the OAGF’s Conference Room, Abuja, by 11am.”
He added, “The 24-member committee will be chaired by a former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani.
“He is expected to bring his wealth of experience to bear on the reform process.
“The committee is expected to review electoral environment, laws and experiences from recent elections conducted in Nigeria and make recommendations to strengthen and achieve the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria.”
A document obtained by The PUNCH had also indicated that the panel would be given 16 weeks to review the Justice Muhammad Uwais-led National Electoral Reform Committee report.
Part of the proposed scope of the committee’s work, it was learnt, would be to review the extent of implementation of the report of the panel headed by Uwais, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, and advise government on its implementation.
The Uwais panel on electoral reform submitted its report on December 11, 2008, with recommendations that included the establishment of commissions to deal with electoral offences, constituency delimitation and political parties’ registration and regulation.
The PUNCH further learnt that the proposed committee would also be expected to review conflicting court judgments on legal disputes on past elections.
The scope of the committee’s work read in part, “Review the laws impacting elections in Nigeria, in relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to assess their impact and adequacy for the administration of elections in Nigeria.
“Review of recent judicial decisions on election petitions as they relate to conflicting judgments; absence of consequential orders; delay in issuing Certified True Copies of judgments; harmonisation of the Electoral Act in view of the judgments with a view to enhancing the electoral process.
“Review of the lessons learnt from the 2015 general elections and make recommendations for the improvement as they relate to the judicial decisions and experience from field operations.
“Identify and assess international best practices on electoral system relevant to Nigeria’s experience and identify best practices that would impact positively on the quality and credibility of the nation’s electoral process.
“Review the extent of the implementation of the recommendations of the 2008 Electoral Reform Commission headed by Justice Muhammad Uwais (Uwais Report) and advise on outstanding issues for implementation.”