Friday, 17 August 2018

Elections to State Houses of Assembly Nigeria

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Each State of the Federation has a House of Assembly. You may want to serve in the Capacity of a Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly of your State. There are certain conditions which must be in place to ensure that you are first a member of the House of Assembly of that State and then to ensure that you are elected as Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of a House of Assembly are elected by the members of the House from amongst themselves. This means that you have to first be a member of a State House of Assembly before you are elected as the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly. Members of a State House of Assembly are elected into the House by the electorate of that particular State.

Elections to a House of Assembly are held on dates prescribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). For the purpose of election into a House of Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) divides every State in the Federation into State Constituencies.

You are qualified for election as a member of a House of Assembly of a State where:

•    You are a citizen of Nigeria;
•    You are not less than thirty years;
•    You have at least a School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent; and
•    You are a member of a political party which must have sponsored you.
A person is disqualified from being elected as a member of a State House of Assembly where:
•    He has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country other than Nigeria or has made a declaration of allegiance to another country in cases not recognized by the National Assembly. Remember that where a person who is not a citizen of Nigeria by birth acquires or retains the citizenship of another country (which is not his citizenship or nationality by birth); he is to forfeit his Nigerian Citizenship.
•    He is adjudged to be a lunatic or to be of unsound mind under any law in force in any part of Nigeria;
•    He is under a death sentence imposed by a competent court of law in Nigeria or an imprisonment sentence or has been fined for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud;
•    He has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or found guilty of a contravention of  the Code of Conduct within a period less than ten years before the date of election to the House of Assembly;
•    He is an undischarged bankrupt who has been declared bankrupt by a law in force in Nigeria;
•    He is employed in the public service of Nigeria of any State and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment thirty days before the date of election.;
•    He is a member of any secret society; and
•    He has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Appeal: It should be noted that where there is an appeal against any decision of a competent court or tribunal which has declared a person to be of unsound mind, to be a lunatic or has sentenced him to death or imprisonment or he has declared him bankrupt, a person is not disqualified from being elected as a member of the House for the period of that appeal. That is, from the beginning of the appeal till when it finally ends, lapses or is abandoned. The outcome of the appeal then determines whether a person is disqualified on those grounds or not.

Finally, a Speaker or Deputy Speaker who is elected into such office, must vacate that office in the following cases:

•    If he ceases to be a member of the House of Assembly for any reason other than that of dissolution of the House; or
•    When the House of Assembly first sits after any dissolution of the House; or
•    If he is removed by a resolution of the House of Assembly. The required number of votes is not less than two-third majority of the members of the House.
A member of a House of Assembly must vacate his office if any of the following occurs:
•    He becomes a member of another legislative house; or
•    If any other situation arises disqualifying him from being elected as a member of the House of Assembly in the first place. This of course assumes that he is not yet a member of the House of Assembly; or
•    If he is no longer a citizen of Nigeria; or
•    If he becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy-Governor or a Minister or a Commissioner; or 
•    If he becomes a member of a commission or other body established by the Constitution or any other law in Nigeria unless the Constitution prescribes so; or
•    If he is absent from meetings of the House of Assembly without just cause for a total period of more than one-third of the total number of days during which the House meets in a year; or
•    If after he has become a member of the House of Assembly by virtue of being sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the end of the period for which he was elected. But note that a person will not be so disqualified on this basis where his new membership of another political party is as a result of a division in his former political party or as a result of a merger of two or more political parties of which his former political party is one.

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