While I continue to implore our desperate politicians and their gullible followers, to go home and restrategise for their personal victory in the coming polls. It is also pertinent to analyse the current amendment of the Electoral Act to my fellow Nigerians. I am happy to tell Nigerians that those days of bandwagon effect as we witnessed in 1983 and 2015 is gone. No more relying on other people’s integrity to win elections, to rig, or voting by unregistered/underage voters. We need New Nigeria, and we must start with our electoral process.
To some of you who have been contacting me on critical success issues of the Bill, especially the nine Senators kicking, presidential assent/veto, NASS override and 2/3 majority, take a seat and relax and see how we bring this New Nigeria on. On the issue of those Senators leave them alone, they simply don’t know their own laws. If they do, they will know the amended Act originated from the House of Representatives, and by the provision of the Senate Rule in its Section 87(c) they know during any conference committee meeting of both Chambers, any matter which has already been agreed to by the Senate or House of Representatives, shall not be in order for the Senate to strike it out from the bill. But in a case of counter clauses, the grey areas addressed.
In plain terms, the provision above in this case is, since the order of election is an amendment introduced by the House of Representatives, and the Senate have no counter amendment, then, it is compelling for the Senate to adopt that amendment.
On the issue of assent, we are very sure President Buhari will veto the Bill, hence that aspect already taken care of since we started the revolution from the House of Representatives long time ago. Now I shall explain in details how the amendment is legal, and the reason INEC or any other persons cannot challenge it in court.
In addition to Sections 1(1)&(2), 4(1)&(2), which bothers on the supremacy of the Constitution and legislative power of the National Assembly, the provisions of Section 76(1), 116(1), 132(1), 178(1) and 15(a)&(i) of the 1999 Constitution (3rd Alt), empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise, undertake and supervise elections into the offices mentioned on a date to be appointed by it and carry out other functions as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly.
The ordering of election is nowhere mentioned in the 1999 Constitution (3rd alt), the ordering only find its enshrinement in the Part IV , Section 25 of the Electoral Act 2010, which this current amendment reordered. In the said Section 25(1)(1,3,6&7) said ” elections into the offices of the president and vice-president, the governor and deputy governor of a state, and to the membership of the senate, the house if representatives and house of assembly of each state of the federation shall be held in the following order- …(1-NASS, 3-HA, 6-Pres&VP, 7-Gov&DGov)…in accordance with with the constitution and this Act.
From the twelve legal citations above, and by the import of the Section 76 of the Principal Act as altered– (a) in sub-section (1), line 2, by inserting immediately after the word “commission” the words in “in accordance with the Electoral Act”; this means INEC have the constitutional power, to among other things pertaining to election matters, fix dates of elections into those offices listed; but the power be executed to the extent that it is “in accordance with the Electoral Act” enacted by National Assembly.
Akinloye NG, MLS.
Legislative Expert and Public Affairs Analyst.