President Muhammadu Buhari has for the third time declined assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018, putting in jeopardy the mandatory use of card readers and electronic transmission of results for a more transparent electoral process for the country.
The President’s decision to veto the bill was announced yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, who said the decision was communicated to the Senate and the House of Representatives in a letter dated August 30, 2018.
According to him, “Mr. President is declining assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill, due to some drafting issues that remain un-addressed, following the prior revisions to the bill”.
Enang explained that Buhari in his preparedness to assent to the bill, had earlier called a meeting of both members of the Senate and House of Representatives, asking them to review some sections, which if retained would leave the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, with only nine days to compile the list of candidates.
Highlighting some of the issues, Enang noted a cross referencing error in the proposed amendment to Section 18 of the bill.
“The appropriate amendment is to substitute the existing sub-section (2) with the proposed subsection (1A), while the proposed sub-section (1B) is the new sub-section (2A). The proposed amendment to include a new Section 87 (14), which stipulates a specific period within which political party primaries are required to be held has the unintended consequence of leaving Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with only nine days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties, as well as manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections.
“This is because the Electoral Amendment Bill does not amend sections 31, 34 and 85, which stipulates times for the submission of lists of candidates, publication of lists of candidates and notice of convention, congresses for nominating candidates for elections.”