House of Representatives maintain constitutional power on election sequence

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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The House of Representatives has insisted that it has the constitutional power to legislate on the sequence of elections to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. 

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, made the declaration while briefing the National Assembly Correspondents on the House’s stand on the matter.

Namdas who explained that the House agreed with two out of the three reasons adduced by the President in withholding assent to the Electoral Amendment Act 2018.

He said “As responsible parliament we’ve agreed with two of the three reasons given by the President. That is the amendment to section 128 of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limit the rights of candidate in election to a free and fair election review process.”    

The spokesman of the House of Representatives also faulted their proposed amendment to section 152 (3-5) of the Principal Act explaining that the National Assembly has no power to legislate over local governments elections.

“The amendments to section 152 (3-5) of the Principal Act which raises constitutional issue over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local governments elections.” He added.

Namdas explained that the House has resolved to expunge areas that it is in agreement with the President in the amended Electoral Act and re-gazette the electoral amendment act and re-transmitted to the President for consideration.

He said “We will re-gazette the electoral act and expunge the contentious areas and debate as the procedure requires us and transmit to the President for assent.”

Override President’s veto power

The spokesman of the House also revealed that the lower chamber has commenced the process of overriding the President’s Veto Power on ten bills including the Nigerian Peace Corp Bill 2018, passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly.

In a letter conveying his decision not to assent to the bill in February, President Muhammadu Buhari cited security concern and issue of funding as the reasons.

However, for the override decision to hold sway two third majority of the members of each chamber (Senate and Reps) must be met though according to experts requires legal advice to arrive at.

Meanwhile, if the National Assembly succeeded in overriding the President’s Veto Power on the ten bills, the executive can challenge the decision in court which will be the final arbiter.

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