Why Buhari refused to sign the electoral amendment bill – Sen. Ita Enang

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 due to “some drafting issues” that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the Bill.

Why Buhari refused to sign the electoral amendment bill – Sen. Ita Enang

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 due to “some drafting issues” that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the Bill.

Why Buhari refused to sign the electoral amendment bill - Sen. Ita Enang
Buhari and Osinbajo

Sen. Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

The presidential aide said that already, the president had communicated his position to the Senate and the House of Representatives on Aug. 30.

“Mr President is declining assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill due to some drafting issues that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the Bill.

“Mr President invites the Senate and House of Representatives to address these issues as quickly as possible so that he may grant assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.’’

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Enang listed the outstanding issues resolved to include a cross-referencing error in the proposed amendment to Section 18 of the Bill.

“The appropriate amendment is to substitute the existing sub-section (2) with the proposed subsection (1A), while the proposed sub-section (1B) is the new sub-section (2A).

‘’The proposed amendment to include a new Section 87 (14) which stipulates a specific period within which political party primaries are required to be held.

“It has the unintended consequence of leaving INEC with only nine days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections.”

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He explained that the Electoral Amendment Bill did not amend sections 31, 34 and 85 which stipulated times for the submission of lists of candidates, publication of lists of candidates and notice of convention, congresses for nominating candidates for elections.

“For clarity, may I provide some details of the provisions referenced; Clause 87 (14) states.

“The dates for the primaries shall not be earlier than 120 days and not later than 90 days before the date of elections to the offices.

“The Electoral Act 2010 referred to herein states in Section 31: that every Political Party shall not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election, submit to the commission the list of candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections.

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“Section 34: That the Commission shall at least 30 days before the day of the election publish a statement of the full names and addresses of all candidates standing nominated.

“Section 85 (1): That a Political Party shall give the Commission at least 21 days notice of any convention, congress etc., for electing members of its executive committees or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices.’’

According to him, for the avoidance of doubt, neither the Constitution nor any written law allows a President or a Governor to whom a bill is forwarded by the legislature to edit, correct, amend or in any manner alter the provisions of any such bill to reflect appropriate intent before assenting to same.

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In reaction, the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, has called on the National Assembly to override Buhari’s Veto on Electoral Act Amendment.

The party, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan on Monday said it was obvious the President would not accent on the bill because his commitment to a free and fair election in 2019 was a mere lip service.

The PDP said “It is now manifestly clear to Nigerians that all the reasons adduced by President Buhari for withholding his assent in the past were lame excuses.

“The clerical and drafting arguments put forward by President Buhari could not in anyway outweigh the importance of amendments meant to engender free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2019.”

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The party urged the National Assembly to stand on the side of Nigerians in the overall quest for credible elections by immediately overriding Buhari on the bill.

 

NAN and NAIJA CENTER NEWS (NCN)

 

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