Elections Sequence - Buhari Rejects Electoral Act Amendment

President Muhammadu Buhari, has written to the National Assembly to withhold assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

Yakubu stated this at a public hearing organised by Senate Committee on INEC and the Judiciary on a bill to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission (NEOC).

NAN reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had equally called for the speedy passage of the bill.

He also lamented that some political aspirants and parties were already campaigning when INEC had yet to declare electioneering open. He added that Nigeria had a lot of people who knew how to go to court to get all kinds of judgments but that "INEC should be cautious of who it is listening to".

Urging INEC not to condone such actions, he said, "The Senate in particular would be very anxious, if INEC begins to condone the actions of some political parties".

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, today directed the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance, chaired by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, to begin the process of screening the 2 nominees for Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

"Inasmuch as we continue to defend the institution and the Constitution, it is time that we look at the priorities and understand what is important". Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday in Abuja, said that the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission was necessary to effectively prosecute violators of the country's electoral laws.

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. He said that the process of prosecuting electoral offences by the INEC was severely hampered by certain factors such as prosecuting the commission's officials found culpable.

Stakeholders from civil society groups at the event, who gave divergent views on the bill, noted that it would go a long way in providing solutions to electoral offences in line with worldwide best practices. "Once any provision of the electoral act conflicts with the constitution, that provision should be null and void".

"I hope that as we are doing the 2018 budget, we will take note of this", said the Senate President.

"The bill, when passed into law, will not only ensure effective prosecution of offenders, it will also enable INEC to focus and prioritise on its other extensive responsibilities", he stated.

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