Published On: Tue, Feb 6th, 2018

Federal Lawmakers Re-Order 2019 General Elections, NASS Election Now Holds First

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By Nuel Suji – The two chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday adopted a common position on the order of the next general elections, rescheduling the election into the federal parliament to hold first before others.

The Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters met in a conference where it adopted a reordering of the 2019 general elections to commence with National Assembly, followed by governorship and State House of Assembly, and Presidential to come last.

Earlier, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced a time table for the general elections scheduling Presidential and National Assembly elections first and governorship and State Assembly to follow.

The reordering of the elections is sequel to an amendment to the Electoral Act 2010, that started in the House of Representatives.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on INEC, Suleiman Nazif, said that the bill did not in any way violate any provisions of Section 76 of the 1999 Constitution which empowered INEC to fix dates and conduct elections.

The Conference Committee approved the House’s version that deals with the sequence of elections as contained in clause 25 (1) of the electoral act as amended.

It states that “Election into the office of the President and Vice-President, Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, Membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly elections. (b) State House of Assembly and governorship election (c) Presidential election.

“The date of this election shall be as appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“The election into the office of the Chairman and Vice Chairman and members of the area council of the FCT shall be held on the dates to be appointed by INEC.”

Speaking at the meeting, a member of the Committee, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi) said that the dates of elections is the prerogative of INEC but clarified that the schedule of elections is the responsibility of the National Assembly, a position which was supported by Mr. Gyang Pwajok (APC, Plateau).

“The new sequence will give all political parties an equal opportunity in the electoral process. It is not targeted at anybody. The basic objective is to make sure that Nigerians have the opportunity, without any hindrance or infraction to vote for a candidate of their choice in cognisance of his/her individual qualities.

“This sequence of elections is aimed at addressing some of the past anomalies, and for the fact that we have concurred unanimously, it’s a clear indication that this is the resolution of all parliamentarians of this 8th National Assembly,” Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) said of the new election order.

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