Buhari again refuses to sign electoral bill, says not yet time - Breaking News in Nigeria today 247 | TheWatchNGR

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Buhari again refuses to sign electoral bill, says not yet time


Buhari again refuses to sign electoral bill, says not yet time






President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018, saying its not yet time.





The Senior Special Assistant to the
President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said this on
Monday in a statement titled, ‘Presidential decision to decline assent
to Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018.’





The development comes less than six months after the President rejected the first one.


According to Enang, the President has
already communicated his decision in letters sent to the two chambers of
the National Assembly.





Enang said the President was declining
assent to the bill due to some “drafting issues that remain unaddressed
following the prior revisions to the bill.”





The statement added, “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 President’s aide said there was also
an issue with the conduct of primaries by political parties and the
dates they should submit names of their candidates to INEC.





Enang said if signed into law as it is,
INEC would have only nine days to collate and compile lists of
candidates in the 91 political parties.





He said, “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 nine days to collate
and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well as 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.’’





He noted that Clause 87 (14) “states
that 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”
which is at variance with Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2010.





Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2010
states, “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 of the Act adds, “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.”





Citing Section 85 (1) of the Electoral
Act which states that a 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, Enang said this was at variance with the bill proposed
by the National Assembly.





He said since the constitution did not
empower a President or governor to whom a bill was 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, Buhari had no choice but to return it to the National
Assembly.

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