—-Returns bill to NASS
—Signs National Open University bill into law
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has once again, declined to assent to the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill and has returned it to the National Assembly.
The withholding of his assent to the bill has made it the fourth time the President has returned it to the National Assembly.
Recall that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang had in the previous rejection of the bill explained that it was due to errors discovered by the President.
Briefing State House correspondents on Friday, the Senator Enang said that the President in line with the constitution has communicated his decision and returned the bill to the National Assembly.
Enang, who was not categorical on whether the President rejected the bill, said that it’s the National Assembly that can reveal the content of the communication.
But he said that the President has signed the National Open University bill into law.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has taken decision on Electoral Act Amendment bill 2018. In accordance with his power under the 1999 Constitution and has communicated that decision to the Senate and House of Representatives in accordance with the law.
“Again, President Buhari has also assented to National Open University Amendment Act, which allows the National Open University to operate as all other universities, having the same power and functions and the same administrative structures eliminating possible discrimination as some use to want to have on its products and programmes.
“It has also allowed the establishment of some centers to be called study centers and given conditions for the establishment of such study centers.”
Asked to be categorical whether the Electoral Act Amendment Bill was assented to or rejected, he said “The president has taken a decision in a accordance with the powers vested in him according to the constitution.
“And by convention that decision contained in the communication can only be revealed by the person to whom that decision is addressed to. But the electoral bill has left Mr. President because he has taken a decision and has remitted it back.”
Pressed further for clarification, Enang said, “Thank You very much but this is all the law allows me to say by convention. Mr. President has sent that communication to the National Assembly.”
When asked why he returned the bill back to NASS he said, “the president has communicated his decision to the National Assembly and that is what it is now.”
When asked if it was safe to say the President rejected the bill, he said, “it is safe to say that the president has taken decision as allowed by law and has communicated that decision to the senate and the House of Representatives.”
On what would be the implication of the decision on the 2019 elections, enang said, “The implication of the decision is that the president has taken action on the bill within the time allowed by law. “