October 26, 2010

Senate vote on Constitution amendment tomorrow

By Clifford Ndujihe

LAGOS—THE Senate is to vote on the fresh constitution amendment bill tomorrow with optimism high in the leadership that the setback suffered by the Electoral Act Amendment Bill last week will not resurface.

Ahead of tomorrow’s crucial vote, the Senate will today test-run the automatic voting machine first used during the constitution amendment process earlier this year.

The second alteration to the 1999 Constitution aims to accommodate the time-line needed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct the 2011 elections.

INEC specifically requested the alteration as a way of overcoming the timing constraints set against the conduct of the elections in January as stipulated by provisions of the altered Constitution.

Vanguard gathered in Abuja that the report of the adhoc committee on the second alteration of the 1999 Constitution which was laid on Thursday last week, would be considered clause by clause and passed by the Senate for onward transmission to the state Houses of Assembly for their consideration.

The provisions under consideration are Sections 76, 116, 132 and 178 of the 1999 Constitution which deal with the date for elections into the state and national assemblies, gubernatorial, as well as the presidential election which by the proposed amendment would be held “not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office.”