By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Presidency, yesterday, assured Nigerians that the 2018 Electoral Act Bill passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent on August 3 was still alive.
According to the Presidency, the bill, which was passed on the July 24, is awaiting presidential assent.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) , Senator Ita Enang, said the vetoed bill was the one sent to the President on June 27, 2018, and not the one passed by both chambers of the National Assembly on July 24, 2018, the very day, it embarked on long recess.
Enang said clarification on the status of the bill from the Presidency came against the backdrop of report published by one of the national dailies, yesterday, that President Muhammadu Buhari had again vetoed 2018 electoral bill forwarded to it for assent by the National Assembly.
Enang explained that the vetoed one was the one with contentious provisions and infractions on provisions of the 1999 constitution
He said: “The reported vetoed bill was the one passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the President for assent on June 27, 2018, duration of which in line with constitutional provisions expires on July 26, 2018, warranting the said veto.
“Yes, an electoral bill was vetoed or refused assent by the President but not the last version of the 2018 electoral bill transmitted to the President for assent on the 3rd of this month that has just spent 11 days on his table and still having 19 days more for possible consideration and assent.”
It would be recalled that aside the vetoed version of the 2018 electoral bill forwarded to the President on June 27, 2018, and vetoed on July 26, 2018, by the President in line with the 30 days constitutional life lines for such bill, the President had earlier in the year , rejected the first of the 2010 Electoral Act ( Amendment ) Bill 2018 forwarded to it in February this year .
President Buhari had in vetoing the earlier one in February, cited three reasons for doing so, one of which was the new sequence of elections included in the bill through section 25(1).
According to President Buhari, the inserted section in the Electoral Act violates the provisions of section 72 of the 1999 constitution, which empowers INEC to fix dates of elections and see to its conduct in all ramifications.
But both chambers of the National Assembly in the new bill transmitted for presidential assent on August 3, deleted all the controversial provisions kicked against by the President.