(Oct. 26, 2010) On October 19, 2010, the 109-member Nigerian Senate rejected a bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010; that amendment had been proposed by President Johnathan Goodluck. (Kunle Akogun, Senate Blocks Jonathan's Bid to Amend Electoral Act, THIS DAY (Oct. 20, 2010), http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201010210081.html.)
The most controversial provision of the bill was one which sought to repeal a section in the Electoral Act prohibiting political appointees from participating as voting delegates in indirect party primaries for choosing candidates to run for high offices, including presidential candidates. (Id.) The current provision expressly states that “a political appointee at any level shall not be a voting delegate at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of nomination of candidates for any election.” (Bill for Electoral Act 2010, §87, the Nigerian Senate website, http://www.nass.gov.ng/nass/legislation.php?search=Electoral+Act+2010&am
p;Submit=Search (last visited Oct 21, 2010).)
The opposition to Goodluck's bill was intensified because of the apparent conflict of interest that it created. The Electoral Act provision that the bill sought to repeal is said to have disqualified over 2,000 of Goodluck's appointees, including ministers, special advisors, chairmen of boards, and ambassadors, from participating as delegates in the coming presidential primaries for the 2011 elections, and he clearly stood to personally gain an edge in the primaries from its repeal. (Constance Ikokwu & Chuks Okocha, Jonathan Under Pressure to Veto New Electoral Bill, THIS DAY (Aug. 17, 2010), http://allafrica.com/stories/201008170012.html.)
Ayogu Eze, the Senate Spokesman, told journalists that the rejection of the proposed amendment is a sign that the upper house of the Nigerian Parliament “is not a rubber stump chamber.” He added that “our relationship with the executive is very cordial but that cordiality does not mortgage our independence.” (Akogun, supra).