Buhari throws out amended Electoral Act

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Buhari throws out amended Electoral Act

Urging INEC not to condone such actions, he said, "The Senate in particular would be very anxious, if INEC begins to condone the actions of some political parties".

Saraki further frowned at the development where some political aspirants and parties are already campaigning when INEC had not yet declared electioneering campaigns open.

The president, it was gathered, gave three reasons for withholding assent to the bill, which was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly.

In a previous report by NAIJ.com, the House of Representatives on Wednesday, February 28, stated that lawmakers would not hesitate to override President Muhammadu Buhari's veto if he refused to agree with the Electoral Act Amendment bill. He added that Nigeria had a lot of people who knew how to go to court to get all kinds of judgments but that "INEC should be cautious of who it is listening to".

"Inasmuch as we continue to defend the institution and the Constitution, it is time that we look at the priorities and understand what is important".

He said: "More so that some of the offenders may be staff of INEC itself; how do we prosecute ourselves so the solution will be to have a commission to prosecute violators of Electoral Act".

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, stated that the Senate would work to ensure that there is adequate funding for primary healthcare across the country in 2018.

But in the letter, the president said amending section 25 of the electoral act would infringe on the "constitutionally guaranteed discretion" of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise elections.

The federal lawmakers want their elections to come up first, followed by that of state lawmakers and governors, and lastly the presidential election.

In his presentation to the committee, Yakubu said that INEC now had about 1,080 cases in courts relating to the 2015 general elections, adding that the commission had received 124 case files of electoral offenders from the police, out of which 60 had been prosecuted.

"The electoral offences Bill seeks to Establish an independent commission and will address issues relating to the coordination of laws".

The INEC boss said no amount of money can be too much in ensuring the nation's electoral process is free of all forms of perversion.

According to Saraki, "the National Electoral Offences Commission will curtail political thuggery, bribery, and undue influence over voters and other malpractices".

"Without the capacity to make arrest and investigate violations, the prosecutorial role is severely hampered".

"INEC can not effectively prosecute electoral offenders and at the same time focus on the extensive responsibilities under the constitution and the electoral act".

"I hope that as we are doing the 2018 budget, we will take note of this", said the Senate President.

He also warned against appointment of ex-officio members, while calling for a proper definition of "electoral offences". Oguntoyinbo said the speedy passage of the bill would also help to improve the electoral process, especially as elections were drawing close.

"Subsequently, due to human dynamics, crimes and offences of election tend to evolve".

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