19 April 2018

Nigeria: National Assembly Dumps Election Sequence Bill

Photo: BusinessDay/Twitter
Nigeria's 2019 presidential election.

The National Assembly yesterday backtracked on the reordered election sequence rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday stepped down consideration of the new bill introduced following the rejection of the amendment made to the Electoral Act 2010.

President Buhari had rejected the amendment, citing constitutional issues.

At the Senate, the lawmakers resolved to step down consideration of the new bill tagged, "A bill for an Act to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act to make provisions for sequence of elections, sponsored by Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi).

Immediately after Senator Nazif led debate on the bill, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe), senators Kabiru Marafa, Olusola Adeyeye and Tayo Alasoadura opposed the bill.

Lawan said: "Let me state clearly that I'm totally against this bill. I said it before that I voted against the bill. Mr. President let us be practical in addition to unnecessary cost; the National Assembly should be on ground to legislate for the good governance of the country."

Adeyeye said: "Please let us leave it the way it is. INEC must be given the right to fix dates and election sequence. Anything more is legislative rascality."

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary said the three areas objected to by President Buhari should be removed. He said a new bill reflecting the observation of the president should be sponsored.

When the prayer that consideration of the bill be suspended was put, majority of senators voted in affirmative.

Similarly, in the House of Representatives, the bill to amend the Electoral Act to make provision for election sequence was stepped down after pressures mounted on its sponsor, Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau).

The bill was listed for second reading, but when Deputy Speaker, Yussuf Suleimon Lasun, who presided over the plenary, called on Pwajok to move for its second reading, the Plateau lawmakers sought for it to be stepped down.

Pwajok said he decided to step down the bill after "wide consultations" with his colleagues.

Passage of the bill by both chambers of the National Assembly had led to controversy, with many including several lawmakers claiming it was targeted at President Buhari's second term bid.

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