President Muhammad Buhari, on Tuesday expressed his desire to withhold assent to the 2010 Electoral Act amendment bill, 2017, recently transmitted to him following passage by the National Assembly.
The President, whose letter was read in both chambers of the National Assembly, premised his decision to withhold assent on some inconsistencies of the bill with the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Both the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, read the presidents communication titled, ‘Presidential Decision To Decline Assent To The Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018’.
The President cited Section 58(4) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) as basis for the legality of his decision.
He said part of his reasons for withholding assent was, “that the amendment to the sequence of the elections in Section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe upon the Constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in Section 15(a) of the Third Schedule to the constitution.
“The amendment to Section 138 of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the rights of candidates in elections to a free and fair electoral review process, and
“The amendments to Section 152(3)-(5) of the Principal Act, may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over Local Government elections,” the President stated in a letter dated March 8, 2018.
The National Assembly had in January, passed the Bill and transmitted it to the President for assent.
The Bill, which was sponsored by Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), specifically seeks to reorder the election sequence come 2019.
The new sequence as proposed by the amendment, if pushed through, will make the National and States Assembly elections to come first, followed by those of Governors, while that of President would come last.
However, in a chat with INDEPENDENT, a member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Abdullahi, (APC, Kebbi), said the National Assembly should respect the President’s decision, arguing that the role of party and its leadership is pivotal to electoral success of candidates.
The National Assembly has rules and procedures for overriding the President’s veto. If at the end of the day members decided that the President’s decision shouldn’t stand, then the matter would be tabled on the floor via a motion.
He said: “If out of 360 members (in the case of the House), 240 which represent 2/3rd disagree with the President, then he stands overridden and the amendment would remain.
“But if 239 voted yes and the rest, no, then it means that the House is in agreement with the President’s decision.
“But if you ask me as an individual, I don’t think we should override the President. Why? Because of the need to respect party principles and the Office of the President.
“When you look at it, if my party plays no role in my electoral victory, why would I respect it? If my Governor didn’t help in mobilising for my victory at the poll, why would I respect him? And if the President doesn’t play any role in enhancing my chances of winning, why should I respect him?
“So we must leave the electoral sequence as it is so that parties and party leaders in the mode of office holders can have a hand in the emergence of their candidates.
“But if other members think otherwise, then let’s wait for the day it will get to the House again, and then the numbers will speak,” he said.
The post 2019 Election Update: Buhari Rejects Amendments To Electoral Act appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.
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Author: Ahmed Musa