Senate transmits independent candidacy bill to Buhari for assent

The Senate, on Tuesday, directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to transmit to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd.),  a bill seeking to provide for independent candidacy in elections from local government to the national level.

The bill proposes that 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 of the 36 states 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 election, 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 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 to prescribe the payment of administrative fees by independent candidates for respective elections.

It mandated the electoral body to waive 50 per cent of the administrative fees for women candidates, among others.

The Constitution Alteration Bill No. 58 would be transmitted to the President,  in line with the provisions of the Authentication Act.