President Buhari has rejected the electoral act amendment passed by the National Assembly.
The amendment sought to reorder the sequence of elections with the national assembly elections coming first, governorship and state houses of assemblies second while the presidential elections last.
But in a letter dated March 3, 2018 and addressed to the Senate President, Bokola Saraki, Buhari said the amendment may infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed right of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organize, undertake and supervise elections.
According to the letter entitled ‘Presidential decision to withhold assent to the electoral amendment bill 2018’, President Buhari gave three reasons for his action.
The letter reads thus:
“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 organize, undertake and supervise elections provided in Section 15(A) of the third statue to the Constitution;
“The amend 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.”
A principal officer at the House of Representatives, Alhassan Doguwa had described the electoral act amendment as a plot against President Buhari.
Over thirty members of the green chamber had backed the amendment to alter the order of elections of Presidential elections before gubernatorial, Houses of Assembly and local government elections.
But, Doguwa, the chief whip of the House, accused his colleagues are plotting against the President and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).