Buhari: “I’m Not Desperate”, Over The Electoral Act Controversy |RN

… As Olu of Warri marks 3 years on the throne

Ben Dunno, Warri


Amid the controversies trailing President Muhamadu Buhari’s decline to assent to the amended Electoral Act, he has allay fears that his refusal was not to encourage manipulation of the electoral process, insisting that he is not in any way desperate to remain in power against the wish of the people.

President Buhari made this clarification in a goodwill message delivered on his behalf by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at the 3rd coronation anniversary of the Olu of Warri, Ogiamme Ikenwoli, held in Warri. He reaffirmed his commitment to a peaceful and transparent process in which every Nigerian would be free to exercise their voting rights.

Dr. Kachikwu noted that the president never sees next year’s elections as a ‘do or die,’describing him as a man who is more than ever committed to good governance and peaceful coexistence of the nation.

“The President as a peace-loving man who strongly believes in the corporate existence of the nation, has assured severally (that he would)  accept the outcome of the 2019 general elections based on his conviction that leadership position is a call to serve the people in whatever capacity one is being elected.”

He urged all Nigerians to be rest assured of a transparent democratic process that would ensure a free, fair and credible process in the build up to the 2019 general elections.

In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, expressed the need to reach out to other ethnic groups in the country in order to foster unity, love and peaceful coexistence among the Nigerian people.

He admonished the political class on the significance of peace and good governance as twin factors that must complement each other if it is truly sincere about delivering the dividends of democracy to the electorate.

While applauding the rich-cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups in the country, especially the colorful dresses and dance of the Itsekiri people, the Sultan noted that these had become our strength as they further unite Nigerians as one people rather than divide them.

On the 2019 general elections, the Sultan urged the electorate to be weary of politicians who would come out to make empty promises they could never keep and counseled the people to use their votes wisely to elect leaders who would better their lots as a people.

He condemned the act of vote-buying during elections and advised the electorate not to mortgage their conscience for the token they would be given to sell their votes on election days, stating that by so doing they will also mortgage the future of their children.

He called for prayers for the leaders for God to guide and lead them right in making critical decisions about the future of the nation as Nigeria is the only country Nigerians have as a people.

He also decried the poor state of development of Warri and urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was present on the occasion, and Dr. Kachikwu to convey to the Federal government, the need to develop the area.

In his speech, Dr Okowa, extolled the peaceful disposition of the Olu of Warri, Ogiamme Ikenwoli, which he noted had helped in sustaining peaceful coexistence in the area and its environs.

He said that his administration has laudable programmes and expected to complete some major road projects within Warri and its environs as captured in the state’s 2019 budget.

Earlier in his address, the host, Ikenwoli, drew the attention of both the state and Federal governments to some very critical projects that needed to be carried out in his domain, to further boost the nation’s GDP, job creation, gas exploitation and utilisation, foreign exchange earnings and other economic benefits.    (The Sun)

Continue reading


Why Buhari Declined Assent To Electoral Bill – Presidency |RN

                                 President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 due to “some drafting issues” that remain unaddressed following revisions to the Bill.

Sen. Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

The presidential aide said that already, the president had communicated his position to the Senate and the House of Representatives on Aug. 30.

“Mr President is declining assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill due to some drafting issues that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the Bill.

“Mr President invites the Senate and House of Representatives to address these issues as quickly as possible so that he may grant assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.’’

Enang listed the outstanding issues resolved to include a cross-referencing error in the proposed amendment to Section 18 of the Bill.

“The appropriate amendment is to substitute the existing sub-section (2) with the proposed subsection (1A), while the proposed sub-section (1B) is the new sub-section (2A).

‘’The proposed amendment to include a new Section 87 (14) which stipulates a specific period within which political party primaries are required to be held.

“It has the unintended consequence of leaving INEC with only nine days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections.”

He explained that the Electoral Amendment Bill did not amend sections 31, 34 and 85 which stipulated times for the submission of lists of candidates, publication of lists of candidates and notice of convention, congresses for nominating candidates for elections.

“For clarity, may I provide some details of the provisions referenced; Clause 87 (14) states.

“The dates for the primaries shall not be earlier than 120 days and not later than 90 days before the date of elections to the offices.

“The Electoral Act 2010 referred to herein states in Section 31: that every Political Party shall not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election, submit to the commission the list of candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections.

“Section 34: That the Commission shall at least 30 days before the day of the election publish a statement of the full names and addresses of all candidates standing nominated.

“Section 85 (1): That a Political Party shall give the Commission at least 21 days notice of any convention, congress etc., for electing members of its executive committees or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices.’’

According to him, for the avoidance of doubt, neither the Constitution nor any written law allows a President or a Governor to whom a bill is forwarded by the legislature to edit, correct, amend or in any manner alter the provisions of any such bill to reflect appropriate intent before assenting to same.

“He is to assent in the manner it is or to withhold assent.


Continue reading


Election Sequence: NASS Assembles Lawyers, Experts To Tackle Buhari |RN


Ismail Omipidan

Ahead of today’s proceedings at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, the National Assembly has assembled a team of lawyers, made up of at least six senior advocates and other experts knowledgeable in law and law drafting to assist it as it concludes plans to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the 2018 Electoral Bill, Daily Sun has learnt.

Following Buhari’s refusal to sign the bill last Tuesday, Accord Party (AP) had rushed to the court last Wednesday, to stop the National Assembly from activating the relevant provisions of the constitution to override Buhari’s veto.

Although the Senate had last Thursday resolved to write the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, to caution his judges with a view to asking them to respect the principle of separation of powers, Daily Sun could not readily ascertain if the letter had been written.

What Daily Sun can, however, confirm that the leadership of both chambers has assembled a team of lawyers and experts to guide it “appropriately and accordingly “.

All the sources contacted yesterday confirmed the development, adding that one of the presiding officers of the National Assembly is expected to receive his experts’ opinion on Monday evening.

Picking holes on the three grounds which President Buhari relied on to refuse assent to the bill, one of the experts said: “I think that the first ground has been adequately dealt with. No need repeating it. Suffice it to say, however, that what this amendment seeks to do is to prevent INEC from being influenced by any incumbent president to determine election sequence by making it statutory. In the US where we borrow from, everyone knows when the presidential election will hold. That is what our legislators want to achieve with the latest amendment.

“Two, there is nothing in the Act that limits candidates’ right to free and fair electoral review. You recall the case of Abia where the nation was apprehensive about whether or not the governorship election was going to be nullified on the basis of tax clearance. But in the constitution, not having a tax clearance certificate is not among the grounds of disqualification. The courts too were giving conflicting judgments, thereby expanding the scope of issues of disqualification. All these issues are not constitutional requirements and as such should not be grounds for disqualification. So what the new law sought to cure is to ensure that grounds for disqualification are strictly in accordance with the constitution.

“On the third issue, what the 2018 Electoral Act prescribes is national minimum best practices. If you look at the Second Schedule of the constitution, part 2, item 11, it gives the National Assembly the power to make law for the procedure regulating elections in LGs. And item 12 goes further to state that whatever laws the state House of Assembly is making must be consistent with the one made by the National Assembly as it relates to LG elections. So you can see that those advising Mr President are not giving him sound advice concerning these issues. What we are doing is to help our lawmakers’ deepen our democracy. We must strive to build a strong institution and not strong man. That is what 2018 Electoral Act is out to achieve. We see INEC’s release of a 35 –year timetable as preemptive” one of the expert said.    

But INEC dismissed the charge, saying that it rolled out a 35-year timetable to entrench the culture of proper planning for elections in the country.

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Lawrence, the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said “nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, the Commission did not roll out a 35-year election schedule. Those who have this impression are missing the important point.  (The Sun)

Continue reading