Posted by Godwin Tsa, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Okwe Obi, Abuja | 4 December 2018 | 785 times
A Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked by four registered political parties to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from giving his assent to the amended Electoral Bill 2018.
Also listed as defendants in the suit are the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1469/18, the Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance (APDA), Allied Peoples Movement, (APM) and Movement For Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), under the aegis of Forum of Presidential Candidates, are contending that the president’s assent to the 2018 Electoral Bill will truncate the 2019 general elections.
Chairman of the Forum, Shitu Mohammed Kabir, who is also the presidential candidate of APDA, described the bill as “a stumbling blocks against a free, fair elections.”
Kabir, who addressed newsmen, yesterday, in Abuja, argued that the time was rather too close to the election to enable INEC train its staff on how to handle the electronic devices, cautioning the electoral umpire not to postpone the elections.
He expressed worry that those pushing for assent may unwittingly derail the electoral calendar if INEC should adjust its programmes to accommodate the personnel, budget and other logistics in the guise of abiding with the provisions of the new law.
He picked hole in the provision of sections 84-87 which he claimed could weaken the powers of political party executives on party primaries and choices of candidates.
“My concern is how to avoid unnecessary litigations and protect the sanctity of the electoral process,” he noted.
Regardless of the suit, the Presidency has urged Nigerians to disregard rumours suggesting that President Buhari will not sign the controversial Electoral Bill.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, Buhari was still operating within the time frame allowed by the Constitution to either sign the bill or withhold his assent.
By the provision of the constitution, the president is to either sign or write the National Assembly within 30 days of a piece of legislation being transmitted to him, conveying his reasons to withhold his assent.
Buhari had three times rejected the bill, the last time being August 30, when he returned it to the National Assembly.
•Excerpted from a Daily Sun report
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