Buhari writes NASS, rejects amendments to 2018 electoral bill

Buhari writes NASS, rejects amendments to 2018 electoral bill
September 03 19:12 2018

By Ahmed Idris

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to the 2018 Electoral (Amendment) Bill passed by members of the two chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), his Senior Special Assistant on NASS Matters (Senate), Mr. Ita Enang, said on Monday.
Addressing State House correspondents, Enang said the President communicated to the two chambers of the National Assembly his reasons for rejecting the bill.
‘’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,” he said.
He said the President urged the Senate and the House of Representatives to address the issues he raised as quickly as possible to enable grant assent to the bill.

The presidential aide listed the issues thus: ‘’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,” he said.

He said details of the provisions referenced are: 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.

He said the Electoral Act 2010 referred to 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: ‘’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. Section 85 (1): “That a Political Party shall give the Commission at least Twenty-one days’ notice of any convention, congress etc., for electing members of its executive committees or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices.’’

“For the avoidance of doubt, neither the Constitution nor any written law allows a President or a Governor to whom a Bill is 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. He is to ASSENT in the manner it is or to withhold ASSENT.

“On the under listed Bills earlier transmitted, namely: National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill, 2018; the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2017; the Chartered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Establishment) Bill, 2018; the Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, 2018; National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Establishment) Bill, 2018; National Research and Innovation Council (Establishment) Bill, 2017; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017,” he said.