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Reps rejects bill proposing 50% votes to win presidential, governorship elections

Had this proposed system been in place during the 2023 election, Tinubu would not be president.

House-of-Reps [Credit: The Guardian Nigeria]

Sponsored by Awaji–Inombek Abiante, a lawmaker from Rivers State, the bill sought to amend the current simple majority system used to elect presidents and governors in Nigeria.

Under the proposed legislation, candidates would only be declared winners if they garnered over half of the total votes, especially in contests with more than two candidates.

The Constitution of Nigeria currently stipulates that to win the presidential election, a candidate must obtain at least 25% of the votes in at least two-thirds of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), alongside a simple majority overall. If no candidate meets both criteria, a run-off occurs between the top two candidates.

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Section 134 of the Constitution outlines the electoral requirements, emphasising both a majority vote and at least one-quarter of votes in two-thirds of all states for presidential candidates, with similar provisions for gubernatorial candidates.

Despite the significance of the proposed changes, the bill faced a swift rejection on the floor of the House of Representatives.

As soon as the bill was presented by Abiante and seconded by another member, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas called for a voice vote.

The bill was met with resounding opposition, with more "nays" than "ayes," leading to its immediate rejection without debate.

The expedited rejection process diverged from the usual legislative procedure, which typically involves debating the general principles of a bill before any vote takes place.

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Had this proposed system been in place during the 2023 election, it would have altered the outcome, particularly for candidates like President Bola Tinubu, who secured victory without obtaining a majority of total votes cast in the first ballot.

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