- Declines assent on seven others
President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the 2018 Electoral Amendment Bill explaining that some components of the amendments were unrealistic and will not give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) enough time to do its work.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, said the president has returned the bill to the National Assembly and has urged it to work on the identified grey areas.
He said since the constitution doesn’t empower the president to tinker with a bill before it is signed into law, Buhari could therefore not do anything about it.
This is the second time the president is rejecting the bill. Earlier in the year, Buhari rejected the same bill, citing the election sequence introduced by the parliament.
The rejection didn’t go down well with both chambers of the National Assembly, which threatened to override the veto of the president.
Enang in the statement, stated: “His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has by communication dated August 30, 2018, to the Senate and the House of Representatives declined Assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
“I pray for leave, that in view of public interest, the fact of the National Assembly vacation, the imperative to avoid speculation and misinfo rmation, that I give just a few of the rationale by Mr. President.
‘’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 President Assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.”
Explaining why the president declined assent, Enang said: ‘’There is 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 has the unintended consequence of leaving INEC with only 9 days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections.
“This is because the Electoral Amendment Bill does not amend sections 31, 34 and 85 which stipulates 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.’
“Section 34 states ‘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.’