The National Assembly has approved the participation of independent candidates in political activities in the country.
It also approved that its Presiding Officers would henceforth be members of the National Security country.
These resolutions of the Senate followed approval of Constitution Alteration Bills No. 46 and 58 by the number States required to make them part of the constitution.
The Chairman, Senate Ad hoc Committee on the Review and Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, in a motion on Tuesday informed the Senate that the Bills have been passed by the required number of states to make them form part of the constitution.
Omo-Agege’s motion was titled: “Passage of Constitution (Fifth) Alteration Bill Nos. 46 (Membership of the National Security Council to include Presiding Officers of the National Assembly) and 58 (Independent Candidacy), 2023.”
After considering of the motion, the Senate, directed the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) to transmit constitution alteration bill No. 58 to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent in line with the provisions of the Authentication Act.
The bill seeks to provide for independent candidacy in Presidential, Governorship, National and State Houses of Assembly and Local Government Council elections.
The Clerk was also directed to transmit to the president, Constitution Amendment Bill No. 46, which seeks to include the presiding officers of the National Assembly in the membership as members of the National Security Council.
The two proposals were part of the constitution alteration bills transmitted to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence last year but not part of the 35 that secured the required approval of 24 out of 36 State Houses of Assembly
According to Constitution Alteration Bill No 58, for any Nigerian national to contest presidential election as independent candidate, he or she must obtain the verified signatures of at least 20 per cent of registered voters from each State of the Federation provided that a registered voter shall not sign for more than one independent candidate in respect of the same office.
For governorship, the independent candidate must obtain the verified signatures of at least 20 per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas of the State.
The bill also states that anyone willing to contest National Assembly elections, he or she must obtain the verified signatures of at least 20 per cent of registered voters from each of the local government areas in the respective Senatorial District or Federal Constituency.
The proposed legislation empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prescribe the payment of administrative fees by independent candidates for respective elections.
It also mandates the electoral body to waive 50 per cent of the administrative fees for female candidates