…Commission won’t bar Corrupt Suspects from Contesting Elections
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said the commission would not discuss the implications of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to reject the bill since the process has not been concluded.
INEC’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a statement Saturday night quoted the chairman as saying that the current dates for the 2019 general elections were fixed in line with provisions of the existing law.
On the implications of the president’s decision, Oyekanmi said; “It is within the powers of the National Assembly to make laws. The 1999 constitution has also clearly stated the process through which a bill enacted by the National Assembly can metamorphose into a valid law. Part of the process is the prerogative of the president to either give or withhold assent. While it is true that INEC made recommendations to the National Assembly during the electoral law amendment process, it is not in our place to begin to discuss the implications of a process that is yet to be concluded.
“As for the re-ordering of the election sequence, INEC fixed the dates for the 2019 general elections in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). Remember that the tenure of the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors of the states (except Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Anambra States) will expire on May 28, 2019, while membership of the National and State Assemblies will stand dissolved on June 8, 2019.
“Sections 76 (2), 116 (2), 132 (2) and 178 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 25 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) state that elections into the said offices shall hold not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder. It was based on these considerations among others that the commission on January 9 announced the timetable and schedule for the 2019 general elections.”
Meanwhile, INEC said its attention “has just been drawn to a trending story on social media that the Commission will not issue forms to anyone with a pending case of embezzlement before the security agencies or any court.”
In a message posted on the commission’s website, the Director in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi said, “this story attributed to INEC is false and did not emanate from the Commission or any of its officials and should therefore be ignored. Grounds for disqualification are clearly spelt out in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). INEC will not act outside the Constitutional provisions to disqualify anyone. The public should therefore discountenance the story”.