The National Assembly has begun work on the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill that President Muhammadu Buhari rejected and sent back to the legislature over drafting issues.
The joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill announced in Abuja on Monday that the panel was now considering the issues raised by the President for which he declined assent to the legislation.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif, who is the chairman of the joint committee, while briefing journalists before the panel went behind closed doors to rework the bill, noted that it would be the fourth time that the committee would be working on the bill, which had been rejected by Buhari two times.
He said the resolution by the lawmakers would be announced on Tuesday.
Nazif said in part, “I know that this committee is in the eye of the storm and Nigerians are desirous and expecting to hear from us. Here we are, again, trying to address the Electoral Act for the fourth time. Nigerians will recall that there was a first Electoral Act (amendment bill), the second and the third one. And if we pass this one, it will be the fourth one.
“I believe that what we are doing is in the best interest of this country. It will address all the fears and we will ensure that we equip INEC with what is necessary and what will ensure free and fair elections in 2019.”
The President had written to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to notify the National Assembly of his decision to decline assent to the bill.
The President had in March refused to sign the electoral amendment bill. In a letter to Saraki and Dogara, he explained why he did not sign the bill.
According to him, the bill usurped the constitutional powers of INEC to decide on election matters, including fixing the dates and the order they would be held.
He also stated that he was complying with the requirements of Section 58 of the 1999 Constitution, particularly sub-section 4, by refusing to sign the bill.