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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has asked that National Assembly to address some “drafting issues” before he could assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.
This was made known in a statement issued by the Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang on Monday, who added that the President had already communicated his reservations to the lawmakers.
This is the second time Buhari is declining to sign the amended electoral bill into law. He rejected the first amendment on the basis that it undermined the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as guaranteed by the constitution.
“Mr President is declining assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill due to some drafting issues that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the Bill,” Enang stated.
“Mr President invites the Senate and House of Representatives to address these issues as quickly as possible so that he may grant assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.
“The appropriate amendment is to substitute the existing sub-section (2) with the proposed subsection (1A), while the proposed sub-section (1B) is the new sub-section (2A).
‘’The proposed amendment to include a new Section 87 (14) which stipulates a specific period within which political party primaries are required to be held.
“It has the unintended consequence of leaving INEC with only nine days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections.”
Enang said that the constitution does not permit the President or a Governor to whom a bill is forwarded by the legislature to edit, correct, amend or in any manner alter the provisions of any such bill to reflect appropriate intent before assenting to same, hence the need for the document to be returned to the National Assembly for correction.