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Nigeria Lawmakers Reject Bill Mandating Presidential, Guber Candidates To Secure Over 50% Votes

The House of Representatives has rejected a bill that would make it mandatory for presidential and governorship candidates to secure more than 50 percent of the total votes cast before the winner would be declared.

The bill was aimed at amending the 1999 constitution by removing the simple majority rule for presidential and governorship candidates.

The bill  sponsored by Awaji-inombek Abiante sought to amend sections 134 and 179 of the constitution, which provided the conditions to be elected president and governor, respectively.

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.

According to the synopsis of the bill, “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.”

Also, a governorship candidate must secure the highest number of votes cast at the election and 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.

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

Also, the Senate, on Wednesday, rejected a bill proposed to include Anambra State in the membership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The development, however, led to a verbal clash between the Labour Party member representing Anambra North Senatorial District, who sponsored the bill, Tony Nwoye, and the All Progressives Congress Senator from Kogi East, Jibrin Isah, over the status of Kogi as an oil producing state.

Nwoye, had in his lead debate on the  bill, sought amendment of the NDDC Act for the  inclusion of Anambra State, being an oil producing state.

He argued that Anambra State deserved membership of NDDC since it had been collecting 13% derivation since 2021 on account of an appreciable volume of oil production on yearly basis.

His argument did not go down well with most of his colleagues, who believed that benefitting from the 13 percent derivation should not qualify a state to be in the Niger Delta region.

They noted  that states like Kogi and Lagos States were not covered by the NDDC operations despite being oil producing states.

Nwoye, in an attempt to sell his bill to his colleagues, drew the anger of Isah, when he said Kogi was not receiving the 13 percent derivation.

Isah pleaded with Nwoye against dragging Kogi to his bill and noted that the NDDC was more of a regional or geographical intervention body and not just for oil producing states .

The President of the State, Godswill Akpabio, who presided over the plenary, summoned his deputy, Jibrin Barau and the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele for a discussion over the matter.

After the discussion which lasted about 15 minutes, Akpabio addressed the senators on the issue.

He said if the argument of Nwoye on the proposed membership of Anambra  State in NDDC, was to be accepted by the Senate, then, Lagos State, which has two oil wells in Badagry, would also clamour for membership of the commission.

Akpabio, however, faulted Nwoye’s argument of Nwoye,and insisted that the NDDC remained a geographical or regional interventionist body.

Adedayo Akinwale and Sunday Aborisade

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