President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the proposed amendments to Nigeria’s Electoral Act in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the president said the amendments infringe on the rights of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The amendments proposed by the National Assembly sought to make some changes in Nigeria’s electoral act including changing the sequence of the 2019 elections.
The federal lawmakers want their elections to come up first, followed by that of state lawmakers and governors, and lastly the presidential election.
Some All Progressives Congress senators had kicked against the adoption of the report, accusing the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, of influencing it.
With the rejection of amendments by the president, the next option left for the National Assembly is to override the president’s veto.
The National Assembly Conference Committee on Electoral Act (amendment) Bill had on February 6 adopted the reordered sequence of the 2019 general elections, scheduling presidential election last.
According to the sequence passed by the lawmakers, the general elections are to commence with that into the National Assembly, followed by governorship and State House of Assembly. The presidential poll is to come last.
This is against the sequence rolled out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in late 2017, which put Presidential and National Assembly elections first and governorship and state assembly to follow.
Some Nigerian lawyers had in separate interviews with PREMIUM TIMES reacted to the reordering of the 2019 election timetable by the National Assembly.
Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the National Assembly has no right to dictate to INEC.
“They have no right to dictate for INEC, the sequence of elections. Nigeria’s provisions in the constitution, which I have highlighted in most of my outings, does not give them the power to fix dates for elections.
“The provisions for various sections of the constitution, are very clear, especially section 15 of the Top Schedule. Section 15 of the top schedule gives INEC the power to organise and undertake elections. You organise a thing by systematising it.
“So the section 15 of the Top Schedule makes it very clear that INEC is the only one that has the sole responsibility to fix dates for elections as well as determine the sequence for the election.
“What they are doing is illegal and unconstitutional. Once any provision of the electoral act conflicts with the constitution, that provision should be null and void.”
Ola Adeosun also said the move by the National Assembly is against the law.
“For me, it is not okay. It is against all known laws of the land. But you understand the tendency of the average Nigerian politician, they politicise everything.”
SOURCE: Premium Times