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President Buhari declines assent to the controversial sequence of elections bill

By Ateko Usman-Ejima

 

Nigeria Senate, Tuesday received a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari where he declined assent to the controversial bill seeking to re-order the election sequence recently passed by the National Assembly.

In his letter which was read by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the President cited Constitutional conflicts that: “Pursuant to section 58(4) of the 1999 constitution as amended, I hereby convey to the Senate my decision on March 3, 2018 to decline presidential assent to the electoral amendment bill 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.”

The President said some of his reasons for withholding assent to the bill was that, “The amendment to the sequence of the 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 all elections provided in section 15(a) of the third schedule to the constitution.”

He also said that the amendment to section 138 of the principal act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidate unduly limits the rights of candidates to a free and fair electoral review process. He also said that the amendment to section 152 sub-section 3-5 of the principal act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.

The sequence of elections which passed into law through concurrence of upper and legislative houses has generated controversy from the public over the rationale behind the bill. 

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