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Electoral Act: INEC Reacts To Buhari’s Letter

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Electoral Act: INEC Reacts To Buhari's Letter

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has broken its silence on a letter written to it by President Muhammadu Buhari, over the contentious Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

Buhari, who received the bill on November 19, has until December 19 to sign it or withhold his assent and communicate to the National Assembly his views and comments about it.

And if after 30 days he refuses to sign the bill, and with the National Assembly not in support of the President’s amendments or reservation, the Senate and the House of Representatives can recall the bill and pass it into law.

Should the bill be passed in the form it was sent to the President by two-thirds majority votes in both chambers, the bill automatically becomes a law even without the signature of the President.

But reacting to the President’s letter on Wednesday, INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said its position constitutionally, legally and administratively was that the electoral management body is the end user of the electoral legal framework.

He said that it was conventionally rational, strategic and fundamental to seek the opinion of the commission and other critical agencies in the electoral matrix before a new legal framework becomes law.

Okoye said, “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the President has 30 days to assent to a bill presented to him by the National Assembly.

The President has requested the commission and other critical national institutions to revert with detailed and considered views indicating whether or not the President should assent to the bill.

This is the democratic way to go and the commission will make its views known to the President bearing in mind the overriding national interest and interest of our democracy.

The commission will go through the bill and revert to the President within the time frame given to it.”

He said INEC was aware that Nigerians were waiting for this bill and also conscious of the fact that a comprehensive, clear, unambiguous, and forward-looking electoral legal framework was germane to early preparations for elections.

He said the regulations and guidelines of the commission are drawn from the Electoral Act and without a new electoral legal framework, the work of the commission will be tentative and that will not be good for the electoral process.

Speaking on the cost implications, Okoye said that it was rather unfortunate that the issue of direct or indirect primary had overshadowed other fundamental issues in the bill.

He said, “However, it is difficult at this stage to speculate on the cost implications of direct primaries. As of today, the bill is inchoate until the President assents to it.

It is the constitutional and legal responsibility of the commission to give effect to laws passed by the National Assembly.

Moreover, direct primaries have been a feature of our electoral legal framework. The commission has monitored direct and indirect primaries organised by the different political parties. The commission does not dictate to political parties on the mode of primaries to adopt.

The new system of direct primary election proposed in the bill domiciles the conditions for the conduct of the primaries with the political parties. In other words, the procedure adopted for the direct primaries shall be spelt out in a guidelines to be issued by the political party and filed with the commission at least 14 days before the primary election.”

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Daily Headline News (Wednesday, 19-1-2022)

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Here are the top 5 news of the day.

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Boarded MaxAir Passengers Disgruntled Over Delay Caused By NCAA

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Boarded MaxAir Passengers Disgruntled Over Delay Caused By NCAA

Passengers of MaxAir airline were aggrieved over the delay caused by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) after boarding.

It was learned that the NCAA had stopped the already taxiing airline, to carry out a safety inspection on the airplane.

The VM1609 of MaxAir flight was to depart to Lagos from the Abuja airport.

READ ALSO: Illegal Oil Refinery Operators Arrested In Lagos

According to an official report, the flight was stopped due to technical issues as commuters were left stranded in the aircraft.

Narrating the event, a passenger named Raymond had explained how the 11.30 am flight had moved some distance on the tarmac preparatory for take-off before it was eventually turned back to the hangar and parked.

When contacted to explain what actually happened, the Station Manager for MaxAir at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Kehinde Ogunyale, said the aircraft had to follow the rules of the aviation industry regulator-NCAA.

“It was just a delay on the flight, nothing like stranded passengers please, and it is because we were told that the NCAA wanted to do an inspection. That was it,” he told our correspondent.

Ogunyale added, “So the delay came because we were waiting for the NCAA to do the inspection. There is nothing like stranded passengers on our flight.

“The aircraft was ready to take off and they said they wanted to do an inspection on the flight. So the time spent had to do with waiting for the NCAA officials to do the inspection.

“After the inspection, the flight was meant to take off and as I am talking to you now I’ve just got information that the plane is now taxiing for take-off.”

It was learnt that the flight finally took off around 2 pm after the civil aviation authority had completed the safety inspection on the aircraft.

Although the spokesperson for NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, stated that he had yet to be briefed on the MaxAir incident in Abuja when contacted, he explained that it was a standard practice to inspect an aircraft, especially whenever a pilot raised a concern.

“The pilot might have noticed an issue and might have called the NCAA to inspect the plane. So it is a standard practice to carry out such inspection before clearing the aircraft for takeoff,” he stated.

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BREAKING: Kanu’s Trial Adjourned

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BREAKING: Kanu's Trial Adjourned

Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), would again appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, as his trial was adjourned today (Tuesday, January 18).

The court adjourned Kanu’s trial after the IPOB leader complained that the federal government didn’t serve him the fresh 15 amended charges on time.

Kanu, through his team of lawyers led by Mike Ozoekhome (SAN), informed the court that the amended charges were served to them barely 24 hours prior to the former’s appearance in court, which they argued was a limited time for them.

My Lord, the proposed amended charges were served on us yesterday (Monday) evening. As I speak to you, my lord, the defendant, who was just brought in, has not even seen the charges which he is being told to enter his plea.

With due respect, that is not justice. It is ambushing. I know that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act allows the Federal Government to amend, but this is the sixth amendment they are making, and each time they do it, they serve us a day to the hearing, just to frustrate the trial,” Ozekhome stated.

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