Election sequence: Of constitutionality, INEC independence and legal option

The crux of the matter is 2019.

And the raging battle over election sequence between the National Assembly on the one hand, and the Executive and the judicial arms of government on the other, is far from ceasing.
The question is; who is the intruder? KEHINDE OSASONA asks?
Background In rejecting the proposed amendments to Nigeria’s Electoral Act, President Muhammadu Buhari, penultimate week, wrote a letter to both arms of the National Assembly, explaining his position.
Consequently, the President withheld his assent to the bill.
In the said letter, addressed to Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the president stated amongst other reasons; that the amendments infringes on the rights of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The letter to thesenate reads, “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to thesenate, my decision, on 3rd March 2018, to decline Presidential Assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.
The President was quoted as having said: “The amendment to thesequence of 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 elections provided in Section 15(A) of the third statue to the Constitution; “The amendment 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.
“Please, accept Distinguished Senators, the assurances of my highest consideration.
” It would be recalled that the amendments proposed by the National Assembly sought to make some changes in Nigeria’s electoral act, including changing these quence of the 2019 election.
In the new re-arrangement, the federal lawmakers want their election to come up first, followed by that of state lawmakers and governors, and lastly the presidential election.
Meanwhile, the amendment procedure was not without some drama in the House as some All Progressives Congress senators perceived to be core loyalist to the President kicked against the adoption of the report, accusing the senate President, Bukola Saraki, of influencing it.

 

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