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PANDEF to NASS: Attempt to usurp INEC’s powers spells doom for our constitution

By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—Edo State Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and former Provost Marshal of Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Idada Ikponmwen (retd), yesterday, warned that attempt by the National Assembly to veto President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent the new amendment of the Electoral Act, which seeks to re-order the sequence of the 2019 general election will spell doom for the nation’s constitution.

Senate

Ikpomnwen, a lawyer, noted that the constitution vested the powers to conduct elections and election sequence on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and not the executive or the National Assembly.

He said that any attempt by the National Assembly to veto the decision of President Buhari on the matter will be flouting the constitution which the “lawmakers have vowed to protect.”

Citing some sections of the constitution to buttress his point, he quoted section 76(1) which says, “Election to each House of the National Assembly shall be held on a date to be appointed by INEC; Section 116(1) “Election to a House of Assembly shall be held on date to be appointed by INEC.

“Section 132(1) “An election to the office of the President shall be held on a date to be appointed by INEC; Section 178(1) “An election to the office of Governor of a State shall be held on a date to be appointed by INEC.

“For proper evaluation of the attempt of the National Assembly to make a new law, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution is relevant.

“Section 1(3): If any other law is inconsistent with the provision of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail and that other Law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency be void”

“The legal position is that since the constitution which is the supreme law of Nigeria had vested the power to fix date for all elections and organise same in the INEC, it means that the attempt by the National Assembly to arrogate to themselves the power to fix date for elections in Nigeria is inconsistent with the Constitution.”

 


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