President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly to withhold assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.
The letter was read on the floor during plenary on Tuesday by the Senate President Bukola Saraki.
In a letter addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki, President Buhari stated that he is declining assent to the amendment of the Electoral Act because the amendment to the sequence of the election in section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 16(a) of the constitution.
He also stated that the amendment to section 138 of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the right of candidates to a free and fair electoral review process.
President Buhari further stated that the amendment to section 152 (325) of the Principal Act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.
“Pursuant to Section 58 (4) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate, my decision on (3rd March, 2018) to decline presidential assent to the Electoral (Ammendment) Bill 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.
“Some of my reasons for withholding assent to the Bill include the following:
“The amendment to the sequence of the elections in section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission to organize, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 15 (a) of the third schedule of the constitution.
“The amendment 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 and the amendments to section 152 (3)-(5) of the Principal Act, may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over Local Government elections.
“Please accept, distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration,” the letter read.
Earlier in February, the Joint Committees of the National Assembly agreed on some of the amendments to the Electoral Act.
The amendment of the electoral act facilitated the collaboration between the joint committees.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives agreed to the earlier amendment by the House of Representatives that the National Assembly election will come first, followed by governorship and state Houses of Assembly and finally the Presidential election which will come last.