The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, has said that the 2018 Electoral Bill passed by the National Assembly on July 24 and forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari is currently awaiting assent.
The National Assembly forwarded the Bill to President Buhari on August 3.
Enang gave the clarification against the backdrop of reports published by a national daily that Buhari had 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 the NASS embarked on its 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 August 3 that has just spent 11 days on his table and still having 19 days more for possible consideration and assent,” he said.
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-day constitutional lifeline for such a bill, the President had, earlier in the year, rejected the first of the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 forwarded to it 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 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 sent it again for assent.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal on August 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.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly had removed the controversial section prior to the Court of Appeal ruling and sent the revised edition of the Bill to President Buhari for assent.