The All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator representing Katsina South, Abu Ibrahim, has described the recent National Assembly Electoral Act alteration as illegal, a waste of time and resources, saying the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already reordered the sequence of 2019 elections.
In a press statement signed by Senator Ibrahim’s media assistant, Gabriel Agbonika, the senator who, along with other nine Senators, walked out of the Senate Chamber last Wednesday explained that by virtue of Sections 75, 118, and Item 15(a) of the 3rd schedule of the 1999 Constitution INEC is the only organ vested with powers to regulate, conduct, supervise, direct, organise and fix dates for elections into the offices of the President and his vice, Governors and his deputy as well as National and State Assemblies.
‘’The Senator believes strongly that the purported Amendment Act is purely an encroachment on the powers granted to INEC by the 1999 constitution more especially as INEC has already taken its decision on the same issues.
According to Senator Ibrahim, “In the haste to carry out their self serving interest amendment on the matter, they have ignored those constitutional provision and previous court judgement by the Federal High Court and Federal Appeal Court on the same issues in 2002.
“Specifically, an Act of National Assembly passed in the House of Representatives and which was concurred by the Senate on 26/2/2002, was transmitted to the President on 24/6/2002 but was eventually refused assent by the then President Olusengun Obasanjo. “However on 26/9/2002 the House of Representatives and Senate respectively, through a motion of veto, override the purportedly passed Act because 30 days had elapsed without the assent of the president to the bill.
“INEC was aggrieved by that development and went to Federal Court in Abuja seeking declaration whether NASS can enact electoral Act on matters which INEC has adequate constitutional provisions to deal with such issues. In its judgement, the Federal High Court held that the NASS Act passed by the two Houses but which was not assented to by the President was unconstitutional and illegal because it was an encroachment on the power vested in INEC by the 1999 constitution.
“NASS, not satisfied with the Federal High Court Judgment, went to Federal Appeal Court for further determination in its ruling on 29/11/2002 delivered by Justice George Adesola Oguntade, supported by two other Judges upheld the decision of the lower High Court and declared that the electoral Act of 2002 encroached in the power vested on INEC by the 1999 constitution.”
Senator Ibrahim therefore maintained that since 2002 judgement has not yet been set aside by any superior Court the Federal High Court decision on the matter still subsists. In his opinion, unless and until it is set aside by a superior Court order, any attempt to usurp the power of INEC on matters of elections is a waste of time and resources which the President will not honour with his assent.
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