Reps Put On Hold Controversial 2019 Election Sequence Re-ordering Bill

Doris Richards
April 19, 2018

" One of the observations he made was in respect of order of election, he also made observation with regards to local government elections which the National Assembly was given power under that Bill to make laws.

The Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2010 to make provision for sequence of elections, have on Wednesday, been suspended from being considered by the House of Representatives.

Recall that speculation was rife last week that the National Assembly had made a decision to halt the electoral amendment process, which seeks to put the National Assembly and governorship polls ahead of the Presidential election in 2019 general elections to placate the governors.

This has initiated a series of controversies in the polity with some senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) saying it was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari, to prevent his re-election.

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.

During the review of the letter transmitted by President Buhari to the House in March 2018, the leadership of the House swiftly vowed to revisit the bill.

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 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise and supervise all elections.

The first bill is seeking to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 to further improve the electoral process and for related matters, and the second Bill is seeking to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act, No. 6, 2010 to make provision for the sequence of elections in Nigeria.

As he explained the new sequence, several senators were heard saying "No".

Senate Majority Whip, Olushola Adeyeye (APC, Osun), also opposed the bill, saying that the issue of election sequence can not be trivialised on the alter of semantics.

"We should not legislate on sequence, but rather, assist INEC to do its job", he said. "Anything after that is legislative rascality", he said.

Contributing, Sen. Kabiru Marafa (APC Zamfara) in said the bill will further divide the Senate.

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

While the constitution empowers INEC only to fix daes of election but the power for order and sequence of election is within the Constitutional mandate of the National Assembly that ab initio even created the law that enacted INEC as an institution.

The Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, argued that the lawmakers had the powers to legislate on order of elections.

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

"But my disagreement with the Bill is that we can not probate and reprobate, as a Senate we are distinguished people and we must not speak with both sides of our mouth". And if we are confused, let us go back to the status quo. "It is on that note, without joining issues with anybody, that I stand opposed to this bill", he said.

Senator Mao Ohuabunwa also opposed the new version.

Ekweremadu said: "President has made observations in respect of some aspects of that bill, he did not say that the bill we passed was entirely useless".

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

Meanwhile, Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader who was listed as co-sponsor of the Electoral Act (amendment) bill, disowned knowledge on the controversial bill.

The lower legislative chamber dropped the bill during plenary on Wednesday after Edward Pwajok, a Plateau lawmaker, who sponsored the bill, said he was withdrawing it.

The chairman Rules and Business, Emmanuel Orker-Jev then requested the leave of the House to step down the bill which focused on electronic voting.

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

In a related development, the House adopted all the recommendations of the State Houses of Assembly's on the fourth alterations of the 1999 Constitution.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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