Wednesday, 7 February 2018

2019: NASS Changes sequence presidential, National assembly, Governorship and state Assembly Election schedule.

President Muhammadu Buhari and other presidential candidates in the 2019 general elections may have a tight rope to walk during the polls following yesterday’s
adoption of the reordered sequence of elections by the National Assembly
Conference Committee on Electoral Act
(Amendment) Bill.
The Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC, had last year released the timetable for the 2019 general elections
in which it put the presidential and National Assembly election first before that of governorship and state assembly elections.
But during the conference committee’s
sitting held at the National Assembly complex, the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives on the amendments of Section 25(1) of the 2010
Electoral Act by reordering the sequence of
elections to start from that of the National
Assembly, followed by governorship and state assembly election before the presidential election.
In adopting the reordered sequence of election contained in the House of
Representatives version of the amended
Electoral Act, Chairman of the committee,
Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi North), put it to voice vote to the 12
members present to which they all shouted
‘ayes’!

Senator Nazif after the adoption of the new sequence of election said the bill did not in any way violate any provision of Section 76 of the 1999 constitution which empowers INEC to fix dates and conduct elections.
He said the words empowering INEC to
that effect were duplicated in the bill just as
powers conferred on the National Assembly
by Section 4 sub section 2 of the Constitution were exercised in relation to rescheduling of elections.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this bill with
the inclusion of Section 25(1) which makes
provision for sequence of election different
from the one earlier rolled out by INEC has
not in any way violated any provision of the
law governing the operations of the electoral body”, he said.
Also commenting, Chairman of the House
Committee on INEC, Edward Pwajok, said
what the House concurred is necessary in
giving credibility to the electoral process.
“The sequence of election is not targeted
at anybody, but aimed at giving credibility
to the electoral process by way of giving the
electorate the opportunity to vote based on
individual qualities of candidates vying for
the National Assembly seat”, he said .
He added that if the bill is not assented
to by the president, the lawmakers, based
on national interest, will adopt it by using
constitutional provisions at their disposal to
make it see the light of the day .
“On whether it would be assented to or not
by the president as far as we are concerned
remains in the realm of conjuncture for now
but if such eventually happens, we will
know how to cross the bridge”, he said.
Making further clarifications on the
sequence of election, a member of the
committee, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi
West), said while the date for election is the
prerogative right of INEC, extant laws of the
land gives schedules for such elections as the
sole responsibility of the National Assembly.
“So contrary to reports and comments by
some Nigerians on the reordered sequence
of election, the National Assembly has not
overlapped its boundaries,” he said.
Other members of the committee like
Senators Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna
Central), Gilbert Nnaji (PDP, Enugu South),
Abiodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South) and
Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North)
among others, also commented in support
of the reordered sequence of elections.
It would be recalled that the sequence
of election now adopted by the eighth
National Assembly was earlier proposed
by the fourth National Assembly in the 2002
Electoral Bill before it was later amended
by merging the presidential and National
Assembly election together which has been
the practice since then.

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