President Muhammadu Buhari has today relayed his decision to withhold assent on the Electoral Act amendment bill to the National Assembly.
In a letter read to members of the House of Representatives on the floor by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara on the subject today, the president refused to sign the bill into law. It would be recalled that some members of the National Assembly have vowed to veto the bill, should the president refuse to sign it into law.
Buhari argued that the bill would be usurping the constitutional powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by deciding on election matters for the Commission.
Buhari also said that his response was in compliance with the requirements of Section 58 of the 1999 Constitution, particularly, sub-section 4, by refusing to sign the bill.
Buhari’s letter reads in part, “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 organise, 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 Sub-section 325 of the Principal Act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.”