Why Buhari Must Not Sign Electoral Act Amendment Bill — NCAN
Says National Assembly inserted unconstitutional provisions again
A group, the Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network [NCAN] has called on the President not to sign the Electoral Act Amendment more recently passed by the National Assembly as it contains provisions that infringe on party independence and undermine the supremacy of Nigeria’s constitution.
The group noted that the amendments made by the National Assembly were inimical to Nigeria’s democratic growth and were in application contrary to the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
NCAN stated this in a statement signed by the National Coordinator and the National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Sunusi Musa and Abubakar Usman respectively.
It highlighted that provisions of Section 9 which seek to alter the principal Act if allowed may create hardship for political parties to substitute candidates in the events of death or withdrawal of candidate nominated.
The group noted that the amendment which requires parties to conduct fresh primaries within 7 days did not take cognisance of the tedious processes involved which would include sales of forms and screening of candidates which would be impossible to finish in 7 days.
It went further to state:
“The provisions of Section 25 which seek to substitute Section 87 of the principal act is unconstitutional.
“This section attempts to micromanage the affairs of parties in terms of qualification for seeking for a party’s ticket, fees to be charged, sequence of primaries and who can be a delegate among others.
“It is out of place for the National Assembly to make such an amendment as it is ultra vires.
“Political parties can decide what manner of primaries they want to adopt and who are to vote in the primaries so far it is democratic and within the ambit of the law.”
NCAN condemned the abuse of privilege of law making by the National Assembly members by attempting to impose themselves as automatic delegate and super delegate of any party they may belong to now and in future, for no any reason other than being former members of National Assembly.
The group accuse the National Assembly of attempting to strangulate the inherent powers of the judiciary as guaranteed by the Constitution as well as encourage rigging of election, by inserting a provision that oust jurisdiction of court from ordering the refund of all salaries collected by a person found to have rigged his way into elective office.
The group highlighted that certain provisions in the amendment were undemocratic, such as Section 12 which amends Section 38 of the principal act, as it seeks to deny a political party the opportunity to field a candidate in an election.
The group went further to note that the provisions of this section may encourage rival political parties to instigate violence that may frustrate the conduct of primaries of another political party within the time stipulated by INEC.
“We are disturbed also by the provisions of Section 24 which seeks to amend Section 85 of the principal act by inserting the words ‘merger’ and ‘fusion’.
“The insertion of the word ‘fusion’ by the National Assembly creates confusion and a mess for those who interpret the constitution.
“The constitution already mentions ‘merger’ and there is no need for the inclusion of the word ‘fusion’ again,” the statement reads.
The group went further to call on the President to not sign the amended Electoral Act because contains provisions that are inimical to democracy.