A recent report has indicated that President Muhammadu Buhari has declined accent to Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.
The President in withholding accent argued that the amendment of the sequence of elections in section 25 of the Principle Act, will infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organize, undertake and supervise all elections provided on section 15A of the first schedule to the constitution.
Presidential Buhari in a letter entitled “PRESIDENTIAL DECISION TO WITHHOLD ASSENT TO THE ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL 2018,” and read by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on the floor of the Senate on Monday gave reasons for the denial of accent as follows –
“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:
A.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;
B.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(3)-(5) of the Principal Act may raise Constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.
Please accept Distinguished Senators, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
However, there are insinuations that the Senate may override the President if they ‘feel strongly over the bill.’