Reps suspend 2019 election sequence re-ordering Bill

Joanna Estrada
April 19, 2018

The House of Representatives on Wednesday suspended action on the Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2010 to make provision for sequence of elections.

Speaking earlier, Yussuff Lasun, Deputy Speaker who presided over the plenary session, explained that the House is under obligation to conclude the exercise on the Constitution review report, as the Senate had on Wednesday passed the resolution of the State Houses of Assembly. One of the observations was in respect of the order of the election.

In his lead debate on Wednesday, Nazif disclosed that the new reordered sequence of elections would start with Governorship/State Houses of Assembly elections, followed by the National Assembly election and Presidential election last.

President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to assent the bill citing constitutional breaches as reasons for his refusal.

The amendment was feared to have the potential to weaken the president, if presidential poll is conducted last, instead of first, due to its bandwagon on other elections.

But President Muhammadu Buhari vetoed the bill in March.

The president had said that the amendment to the sequence of the elections in section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe on the constitutionally-guaranteed discretion of Independent National Electoral Commission to organise and supervise all elections.

"A Bill for an Act to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 to further improve the electoral process and for related matters, 2018".

Lawan insisted that the right thing to do was not to legislate for new sequence of elections but to support INEC in the conduct of the elections.

He added that the constitution does not specify a sequence for the general election.

Immediately the bill was passed by the senate, a group of Senators kicked against the amendment of the election sequence.

"We should not legislate on sequence, but rather, assist INEC to do its job", he said.

"INEC in the past chose their date and INEC in the 8th National Assembly must be given the respect again to choose their date. Anything after that is legislative rascality", he said".

"We are concentrating on irrelevancies, there are so many problems, people are dying, losing jobs", he said.

He said there was a sharp difference between election date and election sequence.

To this end, the House resolved to adopt the returns of the State Houses of Assembly on the Constitution Alteration Bills, 2018, having met the requirements of the provisions of Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution and be processed in line with the Acts Authentication Act and be transmitted to the President for his assent.

Similarly, Senate Minority Leader, Sen.

"My disagreement with this bill is that we can not approbate and repprobate".

However, the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom Central), opposed the idea of changing the sequence of elections, saying that "as a Senate, we can not approbate and reprobate".

"The sequence, as proposed here, is such that not only has it taken us backwards, it shows that we look confused".

"As Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on INEC, I state categorically that I totally oppose this bill".

Senator Mao Ohuabunwa also opposed the new version.

"I want to advice we stick with what we practiced in 2015".

‎Further debate on the bill was therefore stood down for another legislative day.

In the upper chamber, Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan described the bill as unnecessary adding that it would increase the cost of conducting elections in the country.

However, the presiding Deputy Speaker of the House, Yussuf Lasun, intervened and said that the sponsor of the bill had the right to withdraw it.

The bill, which was listed for second reading in the Order Paper of the day, included seven other lawmakers as co-sponsors.

The attempt, however, failed with withdrawal of a new bill proposed to that effect.

Later, during a media briefing, House spokesman, Hon.

It also passed the constitution adjustment bills okayed and returned by the 36 state Houses of Assembly.

One of the four recommendations said his suspension should be upheld.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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