2019 Election Sequence: Senate re-introduces Electoral Act Amendment Bill

Nigerian Senate

The Senate on Tuesday started a fresh move toward reordering the sequence of elections by reintroducing the bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010.

The bill, which was presented by Suleiman Nazif, passed first reading at plenary.

Following the resolve of the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives to harmonise position on the contentious amendment bill, the House of Representatives re-introduced its version last week.

President Muhammadu Buhari withheld assent to the first version of the bill, which originated from the House of Representatives and was later passed by both chambers of the National Assembly.

In declining assent to the bill, Mr Buhari said the proposed law would usurp the constitutional powers of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to decide on election matters, including fixing dates and the order they would go.

In addition, the president explained that he was complying with Section 58 of the 1999 Constitution, particularly sub-section 4, by refusing to sign the bill.

Earlier, the introduction of the bill generated controversy, with some lawmakers alleging that it was targeted at Mr Buhari in the 2019 elections.

The matter also went to the Federal High Court, Abuja, which on March 14, asked the National Assembly not to take any further action on the amendment bill.

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The judge, Ahmed Mohammed, made the order while delivering ruling in an application filed by the Accord Party seeking a preservative order on the matter.

The judge said “all parties in the suit are directed to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit between now and the next adjourned date.”

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