By Cecilia Ijuo
Abuja – The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has assured that the 9th Senate will begin the process of amending the Electoral Act early in preparation for the 2023 general elections.
Lawan made this known when the European Union Elections Observers Mission, led by Amb. Keitec Karlsen, paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday in Abuja.
The observer mission presented a copy of its observations from the 2019 elections.
He said the senate would expedite action in ensuring that necessary actions were taken in amending the act to ensure more credible elections in the future.
Lawan commended the Mission for its 30 points recommendations on how to conduct better elections moving forward.
“Your visit today is historic, as it’s the first visit to my office after elections of the Presiding officers of the 9th Assembly.
“We consider our elections of great importance. We have lessons to learn and we want our elections to be credible and to meet with best practices.
“The National Assembly has always worked hard on the electoral Act to ensure that we improve on the standard.
“Your recommendations will inspire us to a better electoral processes,” he said.
Lawan explained that inability of the National Assembly to successfully amend the act prior to the 2019 election was due to wrong timing, adding that the 9th assembly would begin the process early enough.
“This time, we will be quick to address all the grey areas and come out with better input.
“We need to see an improvement in our electoral system. So, we solicit your support to further boost knowledge of our members and committees.
“We, in the 9th assembly, will continue to work in a committed and united manner to offer the best to the electorate,” he said.
The president of the senate called on the European Union Mission to collaborate more with the National Assembly in order to build the capacity of lawmakers.
He also noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is an institution that has always been supported by the National Assembly.
“They also require more support and resources as the resources available are not enough for the enormous tasks.
“Our desire is that our electoral empire should continue to be independent to continue to perform its statutory functions creditably,” Lawan said.
Earlier, Karlsen congratulated Lawan for his election as the Speaker, assuring that the EU would continue to strengthen its collaboration with Nigeria.
Karlsen said Nigeria remains an important partner of the European Union and close ally in terms of economy, job creation, migration and other key areas.
He assured that EU would continue to work with Nigeria for national development.
The Deputy Chief Observer, Hannah Robert, disclosed that the observer mission was invited by INEC to monitor the last elections.
She added that, as an independent observer, the mission visited several polling stations in the country during the polls, stressing that the exercise afforded the observers the opportunity see events on self appraisals.
Robert added that 30 recommendations were brought up for electoral reforms and another seven priority recommendations were comprehensively arrived at.
She said the reports were to correct anomalies in elections so that such inadequacies would not be repeated in the future.
According to her, some of the recommendations had to do with legal reform.
“We need the support of the National Assembly to ensure the reform of the country’s electoral process,” Robert said.
She, however, called on the National Assembly to engage in an inclusive debate and dialogues in order to arrive at a more promising electoral system.