President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, March 12, in two separate letters addressed to the Senate president Bukola Saraki and speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, rejected the amendment to the Electoral Act, Daily Trust reports.
NAIJ.com gathered that the president gave three reasons for withholding assent to the Electoral Act Amendment bill which was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly intending to change the country's elections sequence.
The two presiding officers are expected to read the letters to their colleagues at plenary between Tuesday, March 13 and Thursday, March 15.
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Read President Buhari's letter to the Senate below:
"Dear Distinguished Senator AB Saraki,
PRESIDENTIAL DECISION TO WITHHOLD ASSENT TO THE ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL 2018
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;
C. 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.
Please accept Distinguished Senators, the assurances of my highest consideration.
In a previous report by NAIJ.com, the House of Representatives on Wednesday, February 28, stated that lawmakers would not hesitate to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto if he refused to agree with the Electoral Act Amendment bill.
The House said it would remain firm on the bill, especially the provision on the re-ordering of the 2019 elections. A controversial new Section 25 introduced into the Act changed the sequence of elections by making the National Assembly elections to come first while the presidential poll will now come last, the Punch reports.
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The amendment had passed in both the Senate and the House and its now awaiting Buhari’s assent.
However, in the elections timetable already released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), before the amendment was passed, the presidential election was supposed to be the first.
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