UPDATED: Elections Sequence: Buhari rejects Electoral Act amendment

President says INEC reserves right to order elections
President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the proposed amendments to Nigeria’s Electoral Act.

In a letter addressed to Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the president stated amongst other reasons that the amendments infringes on the rights of INEC.

A similar letter was sent to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The amendments proposed by the National Assembly sought to make some changes in Nigeria’s electoral act including changing the sequence of the 2019 election.

The federal lawmakers want their election 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.

The letter to the Senate reads, “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate, my decision, on 3rd March 2018, to decline Presidential Assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.

“Some of my reasons include the following:
“The amendment to the sequence of elections in Section 25 of the principal act, may infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise elections provided in Section 15(A) of the third statue 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;

“The amendment to Section 152 Subsection 325 of the Principal Act may raise Constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.

“Please accept Distinguished Senators, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

With the rejection of amendments by the president, the next option left for the National Assembly is to override the president’s veto or let the act remain as it is.

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