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President Buhari rejects Electoral Act amendment bill

President Buhari rejects Electoral Act amendment bill gathered that the president gave three reasons for withholding assent to the Electoral Act Amendment bill which was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly intending to change the country's elections sequence.

But in the letter, the president said amending section 25 of the electoral act would infringe on the "constitutionally guaranteed discretion" of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise elections.

He also lamented that some political aspirants and parties were already campaigning when INEC had yet to declare electioneering open.

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the amended timetable for 2019 elections.

"INEC should be cautious of who it is listening to".

"The Senate in particular would be very anxious, if INEC begins to condone the actions of some political parties".

The amendment indicated that if a nominated candidate died in the election process, the next person from the same political party with the second highest votes in the primary election should replace the deceased.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the consideration and passage of the bill was long overdue given the strong advocacy by the Justice Uwais-led Electoral Reform Committee and the Justice Lemu-led Post-Election Violence Panel report.

He, therefore, supported the bill seeking to establish the electoral offences commission, saying to relieve INEC of the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offences was necessary to enable it focus and prioritise on other responsibilities.

He said, "Of recent, there have been arguments on who has power to do what".

"Nearly a decade later, there has been no legislative action on these aspects of the recommendations of the Uwais and Lemu reports, making the present effort by the Senate and the concurrent effort by the House of Representatives a welcome development". "There are several factors responsible for the inadequate success ranging from the huge prosecutorial task, dependence on other agencies for arrest and investigation, time and resources", he said. "Once any provision of the electoral act conflicts with the constitution, that provision should be null and void".

According to Saraki, "the National Electoral Offences Commission will curtail political thuggery, bribery, and undue influence over voters and other malpractices".

He also warned against appointment of ex-officio members, while calling for a proper definition of "electoral offences".