Senate Rejects Bill To Allow Political Parties Fill Vacant Seats Without Bye-Elections

The Nigerian Senate has rejected a bill seeking to allow parties fill vacant seats in the National or State legislative chambers without bye-elections in the case of death or lawmaker’s resignation.

The bill, sponsored by Sunday Karimi, senator representing Kogi West, seeks to save funds that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will spend to conduct a bye-election.

Leading the debate on the bill on Tuesday, Karimi said in the places where Nigeria has modelled its democracy, candidates for parliamentary seats are replaced by the parties.

According to him, the country’s democracy is growing and there is a need to reduce the cost of governance.

“The purpose of this bill is to eliminate waste in conducting by-elections by INEC.

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“This bill that I am proposing is what is happening in other parts of the world, like in America where we borrowed our democracy from.

“What is in place there is that when a candidate resigns or during the tenure he dies, they don’t do another election, a candidate is nominated by the party or the state congress.

“Even in supreme court judgments here, it is said that the party owns the ticket. When we have such situations the party should replace the candidate.

“Our democracy is growing, we need to reduce costs,” Karimi explained.

Kawu Sumaila, senator representing Kano South, opposing the bill, said it is the people who vote a candidate into office and not any political party.

At that point, Senate President Godswill Akpabio advised Karimi to step down the bill and present it again but the lawmaker declined.

Upon Akpabio’s voice vote on whether it should be stood down or not, the “nays” were louder than the “yes”.