By Ignatius Okorocha
The Presidency has declared that the 2018 Electoral Bill passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent, is still alive and awaiting assent of the President.
The revelation on the status of the bill came from the Presidency on Tuesday against the backdrop of report by a national daily on Tuesday that President Buhari had again vetoed the amended 2018 Electoral Bill.
Fielding questions from journalists in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Solomon Ita Enang, said that 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.
According to him, the vetoed bill was the one with contentious provisions and infractions on provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) .
“The reported vetoed bill was the one passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the President for assent on the 27th of June, 2018 duration of which in line with constitutional provisions expires on the 26th of July, 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, ” he explained.
The AUTHORITY recalls that aside the vetoed version of the 2018 Electoral Bill forwarded to the President on the 27th of June, 2018 and vetoed on the 26th of July, 2018 by the President in line with the 30 days’ constitutional life line for such bill, the President had earlier in the year, rejected the first of the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 forwarded to him in February this year.
President Buhari had in vetoing the earlier one , cited three reasons for doing so, one of which was the new sequence of elections included in the bill through Section 25(1).
The President in his rejection letter to the two chambers of the National Assembly said 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 the 3rd of this month, deleted all the controversial provisions.