Presidential poll holds last as National Assembly panel okays report

National Assembly Complex Abuja.

The National Assembly’s Conference Committee on the amendment of the Electoral Act has approved that the presidential election will be conducted last in 2019.

After subjecting the re-ordering clause in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill to vote, the conference committee placed the National Assembly election first. It is to be followed by the governorship and state assembly elections.

The committee said that the new election sequence would ensure that every candidate is elected on his own merit without riding on another person’s popularity.

The House of Representatives had in its amendments to the 2010 Electoral Act included section 25(1) into the Act by re-ordering the sequence of the elections to start with that of the National Assembly, followed by governorship and state assembly election before the Presidential election as against earlier sequence rolled out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last year which put Presidential and National Assembly election first before that of governorship and state assembly elections.

In adopting the reordered sequence of election contained in the House of Representatives version of the amended electoral act, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC Bauchi North), put it to voice vote for the 12 members present and they all shouted ayes!

Nazif in his remarks after the adoption said the bill did not in anyway violated any provisions of section 76 of the 1999 constitution, which empowers INEC to fix dates and conduct elections.

Also, the Chairman of the House Committee on INEC, Edward Pwajok said what the conference committee did was very necessary in giving credibility to the electoral process in the country.

He added that if the bill is not assented to by the president, the lawmakers who based on national interest, adopted it, will surely used constitutional provisions at their disposal to make it see the light of the day.

Making further clarification, Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West), said that while fixing date for election is the prerogative of INEC, extant laws of the land gives schedules for such elections as sole responsibility of the National Assembly.

“ So contrary to reports and comments by some Nigerians on the reordered sequence of election, National Assembly have not overlapped its boundaries “

The sequence of election now adopted by the 8th National Assembly was earlier proposed by the 4th National Assembly in the 2002 electoral bill before it was later amended by merging presidential and National Assembly election together which has been the practice since then.

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