New bill- Limited tenures for vice presidents, deputy governors who succeed principals

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law a bill that limits a vice-president or deputy governor who completes the terms of their principals to seeking reelection only once more.

This was one of three bills the president signed on Friday that make key changes to pre and post election laws in Nigeria.

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The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on National Assembly matters, Ita Enang, announced this on Friday.

The first change deals with pre-election matters. Mr Enang said the new act has reduced the date and time of determining pre-election matters.

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He did not state the number of days in the new act.

“There is another of the act which has come into force today is Constitution amendment number 21 which relates to the determination of pre-election matters. It has reduced the date and time of determining pre-election matters to ensure that pre-eletion matters in court do not get into the time of the elections and do not pend thereafter. The relevant sections of the Constitution had also been amended by this act, therefore amending the Constitution.”

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Mr Enang also announced that an amendment to bill number 16, already assented to by the President, will now ensure that a vice President or a deputy governor who succeeds and completes the tenure of a president or governor can only run for the office one more time.

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“The other one is Act or Bill number 16 which is now an act and the intent of that act is to ensure that where a Vice President succeeds that president and where a deputy governor succeeds a governor, he can no more contest for that office more than once more.

“And the fact is that having taken the oath as President once, and you can only contest for once again and no more. That is the intent of this amendment.”

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Before this assent, such vice presidents or deputy governors, after completion of their predecessors’ term can run for office on another two terms.

This was the case with former President Goodluck Jonathan who succeeded President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010, contested and won the presidential election in 2011 and still contested same office in 2015.

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The new law will prohibit this, Mr Enang announced.

He also announced an alteration to the law governing the conduct of bye-elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He said INEC will now have up to 21 days to conduct bye-elections instead of seven.

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“The other amendment is Bill number 9 now an act which gives the Independent National Electoral Commission sufficient time to conduct bye elections. It has increased the number from seven to 21 days and generally widened the latitude of the Independent National Electoral Commission to handle election matters upon vacancy occurring.

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“Therefore these four bills adding to the Not Too Young To Run Act have now been assented by Mr. President and have now become laws. Then the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended are hereby further amended by the assent of Mr. President to these bills today.

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“This allows the State Houses of Assembly to operate like the National Assembly does because the National Assembly does not get its budget from the Executive,” he added.

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