INEC expresses concern over delay in Electoral Act amendment
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern over the delay in the assent to the Electoral Act (2010) amendment bill.
It said further delay may make it difficult for the bill to be adopted for usage in the coming 2023 general elections.
According to the commission, it would be better to have a law that would guide the elections 12 months before the elections.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has announced that the presidential election would take place on February 23, 2023.
The amendment, of the electoral act, is expected to help the election to be transparent and also put an end to different malpractices.
As Nigerians are waiting for the bill to assent, President Muhammadu Buhari has given a condition under which he would assent the bill.
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The president in his letter to the National Assembly that the direct primary clause, inserted by the lawmakers, was the sole reason he vetoed the bill, noting that parties should have options on the mode of direct primary to adopt. “You can’t dictate to people and say you are practising democracy,” he added.
Meanwhile, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said, “The commission operates on the basis of the existing legal regime. The commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections based on the extant and existing constitutional and electoral legal framework.
“The commission does not operate on the basis of speculation and deductions. Yes, the commission is aware of the pendency of a bill to amend the existing legal regime. That bill is still inchoate and does not become law until it is signed by the President and or the National Assembly determines otherwise.
“Hopefully, issues around the amended law will soon be resolved. It is important to have the legal regime in place at least 12 to 18 months before a major election. It is also important to resolve the issues based on the differential timelines in the existing electoral act and the one that is projected in the bill.”
After the President vetoed the bill, many lawmakers expressed anger over his decision.
However, the two chambers had agreed to revisit the bill when they resume from New Year recess.