By Cecilia Ijuo
The 2018 Electoral Bill passed by the National Assembly on July 24 and forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari, is alive and awaiting assent.
The National Assembly forwarded it to President Buhari on Aug 3.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sen. Ita Enang, gave the clarification against the backdrop of a report published by a national daily that Buhari had again vetoed the 2018 electoral bill forwarded to him for assent.
Enang said the vetoed bill was the one sent to the President on June 27 and not the one passed by both chambers of the National Assembly on July 24, the day it embarked on it annual recess.
Enang said the vetoed bill was the one with contentious provisions and infractions on provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
“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 Aug. 3 that has just spent 11 days on his table and still having 19 days more for possible consideration and assent, “he said.
NAN reports that aside the vetoed version of the 2018 electoral bill forwarded to the President on June 27 and vetoed on July 26 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 for assent.
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).
The President in his rejection, said the inserted section in the Electoral Act violated the provisions of Section 72 of the 1999 Constitution, which empowers Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to fix dates of elections and see to its conduct in all ramifications.
Following the non assent, both chambers of the National Assembly reviewed the bill, deleted all controversial provisions kicked against by the President and resent it for assent.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal on Aug 1, nullified the April 25 judgment of the Federal High Court, which struck out the National Assembly’s election re-ordering provision of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018.
A five-member panel of the court headed by its President, Zainab Bulkachuwa, ruled that a bill could not be challenged in court until it becomes an Act.
The judgement came too late as the National Assembly had removed the controversial section prior to the Court of Appeal ruling and resent the revised edition of the bill to President Buhari for assent