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Bill seeking president to secure over 50% votes in presidential poll killed

The bill seeking to amend sections 134 and 179 of the constitution, which provide the conditions to be elected president and governor, respectively has been rejected.

 

The House of Representatives rejected the bill which sought to make it mandatory for presidential and governorship candidates to secure more than 50 percent of the total votes cast, to be declared winners, was sponsored by Awaji-Inombek Abiante (PDP, Rivers).

The bill also aimed to amend the 1999 constitution by removing the simple majority rule for presidential and governorship candidates.

Presenting the bill, Abiante’s proposal sought to amend sections 134 and 179 of the constitution, which provide the conditions to be elected president and governor, respectively.

In the case of a presidential candidate, they are only deemed elected after securing the “highest number of votes cast at the election; and they have not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the states in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,” as stated in Section 134 of the constitution.

Similarly, a governorship candidate must secure the highest number of votes cast at the election and have not less than one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state.

Mr. Abiante’s proposal sought to change the simple majority rule to a majority. In other words, when there are more than two candidates in the race, the winner must secure more than 50 percent of the total votes cast.

The bill aimed to prevent the scenario that played out during the 2023 presidential election, where Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), emerged as the winner without securing the majority of the total votes cast. He had a simple majority, having polled 8.79 million of the total votes.

The lawmakers did not allow Mr. Abiante to lead the debate on the bill. When Speaker Abbas Tajudeen put the question for the bill to be considered for a second reading, the “nays” were louder than the “ayes.”

Though the speaker repeated the voice votes again, the voices of those opposed to the bill were louder.

Consequently, the Speaker ruled in favour of those who wanted the motion thrown out.

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