Senator Abu Ibrahim, chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, has described the amendment of the sequence of election in 2019 by the National Assembly as illegal and unconstitutional.
He argued that Section 72 of the constitution clearly spelt out that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had the mandate to fix election dates and once that is done, no other institution had the right to alter it.
Ibrahim said this on Friday, shortly after he observed Jumat prayers at the State House mosque inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He, however, observed that amending it only goes to show the maturity in our democratic dispensation.
Recall that the House of Representatives committee on electoral act (amendment) bill had in its amendments to the 2010 electoral act included section 25(1) into the act by reordering the sequence of the elections to start from that of the National Assembly, followed by governorship and state assembly election before the Presidential election, against the time table initially rolled out by INEC.
The Senate had also adopted a reordered of sequence of elections by the National Assembly conference Committee on Electoral Act (Amendment) bill which places the presidential as the last of the elections to be conducted in the country.
With this adoption of the amendment by the Senate, the National Assembly election is to hold first, followed by gubernatorial and state assembly polls.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had on March 9th, 2017 announced the dates for the 2019 general elections, scheduling the Presidential and National Assembly elections first to hold February 16th, 2019 while the governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on March 2nd, 2019.
Senator Ibrahim said, “Actually, it has not created a problem, it is just democracy in action. First, the amendment of the sequence of the election was passed from the House. When we sat for harmonisation, the House version was adopted. But those of us who are old in this chamber know that it was absolutely illegal.