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Court rules National Assembly lacks powers to override INEC’s election timetable

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The federal high court in Abuja has ruled that the National Assembly cannot override the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with regards to the scheduling of elections.

President Muhammadu Buhari had declined to sign the amended electoral act into law on the basis that some sections violate the independence of INEC as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution.

The federal government subsequently took the case to court to determine whether the lawmakers have powers to change the 2019 election sequence already released by INEC.

In his ruling on Wednesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed nullified clause 25, section 15 of the electoral amendment bill which reordered the already announced election sequence.

He held that the 1999 constitution empowers INEC to organize and supervise elections including fixing dates and sequences, therefore, the National Assembly does not have the powers to override INEC’s actions.

Following Buhari’s refusal to sign the electoral amendment act into law, the lawmakers kick-started another process to review the sections cited by the President as his reasons for withholding assent, with a view to removing them and re-passing the bill into law.

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The process is currently ongoing.

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